Weedmaps, the popular app for finding a dispensary and deals near you is moving into Massachusetts. The tech company, does not physically handle the plant and has set it’s focus on expanding into the new recreational market for 2018.
Weedmaps is finalizing a lease and plans to have 10 employees in the New England area that will cover medical marijuana states and states that have legalized recreational weed. To show their intent to do good business, Weedmaps even joined the Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Weedmaps, one of the country’s larger and more established marijuana firms, is going all-in on Massachusetts and its new recreational pot market.
The California company, which sells software to licensed cannabis operators and publishes a popular online directory of dispensaries for consumers, is finalizing a lease for a downtown Boston office to accommodate its sales and lobbying team.
Its executives want to be right in close to the rollout of new rules for the nascent industry in Massachusetts and have the firm well-established locally by the time dispensaries open up next summer.
Weedmaps also just became the first marijuana-related company to join the venerable Boston Chamber of Commerce.
At first blush, the two organizations hardly seem like a natural fit. The chamber opposed Question 4, the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana, while Weedmaps supported the measure and has since lobbied the state to put fewer restrictions on the dispensaries and other licensed pot operations it hopes will buy its ads and services.
The fight over the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts isn’t over. But one side has already gone home.
Weedmaps doesn’t deal directly in marijuana. It’s positioned more as a technology company, competing for talent with the likes of Google and Facebook. That might smooth the company’s integration into the chamber, which has been working to update its reputation as a stuffy, overly restrained group.
“We’re trying to show what the responsible actors in the industry look like,” Weedmaps president Chris Beals said, “and to lower any misperception or stigma associated with marijuana.”
Joining the chamber, he added, “is part of being a civically-minded organization.”
The company’s top lobbying priorities, Beals said, are ensuring there are enough pot stores in convenient locations for customers and that lab-testing standards are reasonable.
Its initial presence in Boston will be modest: about 10 people. Eventually, Weedmaps may recruit some of the Boston area’s copious programming and analytical talent to help advance an ambitious big-data project that seeks to match different cannabis strains with various subjective effects felt by users.