By Marguerite Arnold
In what is surely a sign of a white flag of defeat in the world of weed-tech, BlazeNow, an app that allows its users to connect via online interface with legal medical and recreational dispensaries globally, has now obtained access to the Apple App store.
The app, which bills itself as “where cannabis meets convenience,” is not the first of its kind to hit a market tired of the intrusive nature of Facebook and other mainstream social media outlets for all things marijuana. That said, it is clear its founders have studied a market much in transition and tried to position themselves in the way of the most obvious, and potentially soon-to-be highly lucrative, revenue streams.
The company has also set itself up from the start as a competitor to other similarly themed apps, including MassRoots (OTCQB: MSRT) and Weedmaps, both of whom have done a lot of heavy lifting on challenging the regulations front. In the case of the former, the company mounted a similar challenge to Apple’s App Store earlier in the year before it went public, itself no mean feat. In the face of the latter, which even had problems with credit card processors and dispensary payments for listing fees in the “good old days” of its genesis, Weedmaps made international news on April 1, 2014, when CBS refused to run its ad over Times Square.
However BlazeNow seems up to the challenge of capturing market share in a huge and exploding marketplace of legal users and those wanting information on how to become them, not to mention businesses hoping to reach all of the above. It has five revenue streams planned on its slick PR powerpoint, although the specific details have not been made available to the general public.
The company is also picking its path through a thicket of interesting marketing opportunities and positioning itself within the new possibilities opening up via legalization. For example, BlazeNow is clearly trying to wedge itself in the exploding cannabis marketing space, which is so ready for prime time it is already creating perfectly legitimate outlets around federally imposed guidelines and dams—especially in a mobile universe. This is an area full of promise if not good pickings and with plenty of room for a few competitors starting with age demographics alone.
The app is also targeting business customers in a way that is in line with an evolving market if not appetite. Wholesale providers have a level of expertise at this point in state markets that is beginning to speak its own language, and one that is highly sophisticated and adept at operating within unbelievably complex regulations in constant flux. It could be that BlazeNow begins to develop a deeper wholesale bench for operators across state lines, which is not only sorely needed but another obvious place for a company like this to grow.
BlazeNow is also going after the online transaction universe, or so it hopes from its PR materials—an online credit union, for example, particularly with the advancement of marijuana banking legislation in Congress this summer, may not be very far off.
The upshot for the average marijuana entrepreneur and client, however, is that as of this year, especially in states where marijuana is now legal for some purpose, it will be easier than ever to ask questions, purchase, and even have, beyond San Francisco, home delivery, all with the push of a few buttons on a cell phone.