Weedmaps is an online legal marijuana community that allows users to review and discuss cannabis strains and local dispensaries. The website is similar to Yelp and contains a database with over 3,000 medical marijuana dispensaries and 25,000 strains of cannabis. The company was launched in July 2008 by Justin Hartfield and Keith Hoerling. The site attracts approximately Two Million monthly visitors and has annual revenue of $18 million. Weedmaps is widely considered the industry leader and premier medical marijuana site on the web, catering to the entire industry from patients to businesses and continues to see substantial growth.
In March 2009 TechCrunch and The Washington Post posted a story entitled, "WeedMaps Wants To Be A Help For Cannabis Clubs", which reported that the website was, "seeing an average of 48% growth per month since launching in July 2008, with several thousand registered patients."
A 2009 New York Daily News article said of Weedmaps, "There's a new stoner's paradise on the Web" and is a website, "where medical marijuana patients can connect with other patients in their area, to freely discuss and review local cannabis co-operatives and dispensaries." In November 2010 WeedMaps was acquired by General Cannabis Incorporated for an undisclosed amount. As part of acquisition, founder Justin Hartfield became WeedMaps' Chief Web Officer.
A 2010 TechCrunch article reported that WeedMaps grew their 2009 monthly revenue of $20,000 to $400,000 a month in 2010 with approximately 50,000 registered users.
In November 2011 Weedmaps acquired Marijuana.com for $4.2 million. The acquisition included the Marijuana.com domain name as well as all of the site's content.
In December 2011, Weedmaps acquired MMJMenu, a Denver based software entity that “provides back-end enterprise software for medical marijuana dispensaries. The software handles everything from patient management to inventory control to checkout at point of sale.” MMJMenu allows medical marijuana businesses to track their sales and revenue from seed to sale, servicing medical marijuana states such as California, Colorado, Washington, and Michigan.
In February 2013 General Cannabis sold all cannabis-related businesses, including WeedMaps, back to the original founders.
In June 2013, Hartfield and business partner and COO Doug Francis formally announced the formation of Ghost Group and its offspring, the Emerald Ocean Capital firm, the first marijuana Venture Capital firm to connect and invest through “Emerging Companies in Legal Cannabis and Medical Marijuana Sectors.”
Also in June 2013, Business Insider dubbed Hartfield “The First Venture Capitalist of The Pot Industry.” Within the interview, Hartfield, a board member at NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, expressed his goal for federal legalization, stating that “For a truly sustained market, for international players to try to be involved in it, it has to be federally legal. It has to be regulated like alcohol with sensible, reasonable regulations for everybody. A market can be created and the government can get their cut as well.”
Weedmaps partnership with NORML
In October 2011, Weedmaps entered into an online partnership with NORML.org, helping to revamp the site. This partnership signified Weedmaps’ effort to aid legalization efforts and take a more active approach within the marijuana community.
Hartfield Wall Street Journal interview
In a July 2009 Wall Street Journal interview, Justin Hartfield admitted that he exaggerated the severity of his insomnia to gain access to medical marijuana for recreational use. Hartfield commented that his interaction with the medical cannabis system is evidence that the system "is a total farce."
Products and services
Weedmaps provides listing services for medical marijuana dispensaries, doctors’ offices and delivery services throughout the United States. The site accepts reviews from any patient in medical marijuana states. Along with its business and social services, Weedmaps also participates in and hosts events connecting medical marijuana patients with one another and promoting activism and safe access.
Weedmaps combines local dispensaries reviews and social networking functionality to create an online community. The website includes a forum, private messaging function, a job board, and Q&A from fellow patients. Weedmaps allow patients to leave reviews about their experience at dispensaries and is the largest directory of medical marijuana in the world.
The Weedmaps proximity map utilizes a Google Maps interface that pinpoints the dispensaries which are closest to a user. The proximity feature also presents advertisements for dispensaries based on a user's geographical location.
Weedmaps is also the most widely used and downloaded medical marijuana mobile application in both Google and Apple's Application Stores, providing services for both Android and iPhone users that are medical marijuana patients on the Google Play and the Apple App Store.