The Intersection of Marijuana and Technology, Part 2

December 10, 2014

12:30 pm

This post is a continuation of my interview with Leslie Bocskor, Chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association.

Tech Cocktail: How are people bringing the marijuana industry to the world of technology?

Leslie Bocskor: I was at an ArcView event in Denver in 2013 when Isaac Dietrich got up to present MassRoots, a social networking app for mobile devices specific to marijuana smokers. A lot of people said, “Oh what’s this, who wants to join another social network? Do we really need another one just to talk about pot?”

The reality is that people don’t want to talk about marijuana on Facebook because of the amount of people who can see it – there’s still a slight social stigma attached to it. But to have a social network specifically geared to enthusiasts gives them a venue to have clear and open discussions about it: the experience, the benefits, their joys, the accessories, etc…It’s a whole lifestyle.

The real play is not going to be in advertising for the industry though, it’s going to be data mining. Consider the information you get from people signing up on a website like MassRoots – it’s going to be incredibly valuable.

I thought it would be a big win, others didn’t. Sure enough though MassRoots has over 200,000 users now and some funding. I saw it, I loved it, and the valuation must be a tenfold increase since they started raising money just one year ago.

Tech Cocktail: Are there other companies out there like MassRoots?

Bocskor: CannaBuild is another great company out of Austin, founded by Zach Marburger. A good friend of mine, Ean Seeb, got in touch with me and said to take a look at Cannabuild because there was something going on there. Ean is as good as anybody in the industry, he’s an innovator, trusted, has integrity, and he’s committed. After all, there’s a reason that he’s the Chairman of the National Cannabis Association, and if he calls me and says to look, I do.

What CannaBuild is doing is, in similar to what Netflix did by changing an uncomfortable user experience like going to the video rental store. Netflix took something unpleasant and made it provide real value, made it simple, and gave you back hours of your life.

Similar to the video store, people who go to dispensaries for the first time walk around and are uncomfortable. They have all these questions and anxieties and don’t know what to do. Zach wondered, “What if we were to create a situation to remove that discomfort?” An app that lets you engage with a personal budtender via text, video, or chat, and in the privacy of your own home, office, or car can help you find out what you want and get personalized advice from a knowledgeable person.

The cool part about this app though is how much it would help out other businesses. At an auto repair shop everybody gets screwed over. With a platform like CannaBuild thouh, you could know what you’re doing before you even take your car into the shop. It’s a prime example of how tech starting up in cannabis can relate to and make an impact on the rest of the world.

Tech Cocktail: How can people get involved with the industry?

Bocskor: There are a number of really great on-ramps, but let’s start at the top with the ArcView Group. You’re not going to find a better way to get in if you’re interested in investing in marijuana related businesses. You have to be an accredited investor to join, and there’s nothing that compares in terms of the quality. Troy Dayton, the CEO, has done a spectacular job curating and guiding that business. Imagine that you could turn back the clock to 1997 when the internet world was just an idea. You could sit at those events, learn, and invest: that’s what Arc View is, an on ramp for the high net-worth individual and professional.

For people looking to get involved outside of the investment world, the best thing you can do is to join the NCIA. If there’s a local chapter like there is in Nevada, you can really tap the potential of your city’s burgeoning marijuana industry and get in on the ground floor.

 

 

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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