by David Downs
Medical cannabis patients are increasingly turning to their smartphones to easily find deals of the day, scan dispensary menus, and even schedule some dispensary-provided yoga. A tour of the Apple App Store and the Android Market reveals a rapidly advancing world of weed apps, even amid the crackdown by the US Department of Justice. Whether it’s studying up on strains, finding a physician who specializes in the medicinal herb, staying informed, or ending prohibition, the needs of the medical cannabis industry are playing out on mobile technology. Here are some of our favorites:
The three coders who started Leafly have now quit their day jobs and hired three employees, and they're currently in the process of hiring five more. The October crackdown has been the biggest hurdle for the growing company, said Scott Vickers, Leafly co-founder and developer. “It's a weird kind of time, but it's exciting,” he said. “The uncertainty in the market seems to have driven patients our way in search of more information.”
WeedMaps boasts a massive national dispensary database with menus that the company updates frequently. Travelers often use it to find new clubs, and then review their experiences. Even with the crackdown, LegalMaps is seeing more downloads and should soon edge into the top 25 medical apps in the App Store.
Users also check the app's Deal of the Day for specials like “Free $15 hash with $150 purchase.” Harborside’s ample patient services calendar shows up here as well, helping patients schedule reiki, naturopathy, yoga, and acupuncture services.
Dayton also said that MyDispensaryApp was recently acquired for an undisclosed sum by the Los Angeles company StickyGuide.com, a leading dispensary profile directory with menus. StickyGuide owner Nick Miller said that even mom-and-pop shops have real-time inventory management needs, much like Apple's Mac store, and when clubs run out of advertised product by the time the patient arrives, it infuriates them. “The inventory is so boutique. All these products are different and in such limited supply that it adds a whole other level of urgency to it,” Miller said. “So many people are checking menus every hour for new stuff and rushing down there trying to get it before it sells out.”
StickyGuide intends to cut app development costs for dispensaries and improve on what MyDispensaryApp built. Planned features include online ordering, so reserving that hot strain is just a click away.
The cannabis app space is still a veritable green field for developers, Miller said, though the October crackdown “shook everyone up,” he said. “It's two steps forward, one step back. The short term might be iffy but the long term has never been better,” Dayton added.