Weedmaps helps enable safe access to cannabis without unnecessary exposure for consumers and businesses.
By Andrew Hagstrom & Andrew Langtry
Technology helps us find solutions to everyday problems. Whether it’s through communication, commerce, or productivity, our tech has become an important fabric in normal, everyday situations.
But we’re not in a normal situation. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, life has drastically altered in ways that, until a few weeks ago, were unimaginable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 6, 2020, there are now more than 347,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States — and these numbers are only expected to increase in the days and weeks ahead.
In order to slow the spread and do our part to flatten the curve, public health officials have emphasized the need for social distancing practices that requires all non-essential activity to cease and for all non-essential workers to stay at home. While these practices are disruptive to everyday life and potentially detrimental to businesses, models show that they will save millions of lives and fare better for the economy in the long run.
Fortunately for the millions of people who rely on cannabis for medicine and everyday needs, most public health officials have recognized the need for cannabis retailers to continue providing cannabis products to the public. In some cases, governors have made small policy innovations — curbside sales, pickup options, expedited delivery licenses — that empower businesses to provide access to cannabis while adhering to social distancing practices that ultimately save lives.
But without the tools that give businesses the flexibility to adapt to best practices and the power to meet surging demand, access to cannabis still could crumble in the blink of an eye. This is where Weedmaps and the rest of the technology industry have a role to play. Although our products and tech solutions were made to solve everyday problems, we’re making adjustments to meet the needs of consumers and business owners in this unprecedented health crisis.
An everyday solution to a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.
One of the everyday consumer issues we’ve been tackling for some time now with Weedmaps Orders is enabling people to place an order from a cannabis retailer for pickup or delivery the way they would order food or a replacement cord for their computer. On the flip side, we’ve been working with retailers to add delivery or pickup options as an additional service to their customers to significantly increase their same store sales.
Since stay-at-home orders were implemented just a few weeks ago, we have seen more than 1400 retailers rely on our platform to support online ordering and communicating the service to their customers. The Weedmaps Orders platform allowed retailers who hadn’t already enabled the product in all applicable states to quickly turn on the order online functionality to allow customers to pick up their pre-packaged order or receive it at home compliantly. These services minimize in-store wait times and traffic, decreasing the likelihood of exposure without disrupting access.
Customers have done their part by quickly adapting, placing orders at unprecedented rates — since the start of the crisis, consumers have placed hundreds of thousands of orders with retailers using the Weedmaps orders platform.
Since, more states such as Arizona and Michigan have strongly encouraged curbside and delivery; in Nevada’s case delivery is the only option. Currently, we’re working to onboard hundreds of additional retailers onto the platform as quickly as possible to continue providing access to cannabis products.
While we didn’t create these tech solutions with a pandemic in mind, we did work tirelessly to build an ordering platform that could scale to meet the needs of customers and businesses alike while adhering to the complex regulations that govern cannabis retail. We saw pickup and delivery as an essential service that would afford customers convenience and retailers value — now it’s an essential service with the potential to save lives.
Trying to keep business as usual in these unusual times.
Another tool Weedmaps has been developing addresses issues further up the supply chain — how retailers and brands do business.
Weedmaps Exchange was created to ease the process of making wholesale transactions, connecting retailers, wholesalers, and brands on one platform and providing them with the tools to communicate, check inventory, place sales orders, and streamline every action needed to keep shelves stocked with products.
Similarly to Weedmaps Orders, our B2B platform was created for a better way of doing everyday business. But in these uncertain times where wholesalers and retailers may be hesitant to meet face-to-face to conduct business transactions, we’re hoping it will offer the same sales process brands and retailers are accustomed to — all done safely and securely behind a smartphone or computer, with real-time notifications to keep clients completely up to speed. Currently, Weedmaps Exchange is operating in California and Oklahoma and doesn’t have any additional costs for buying or selling on the platform.
Weedmaps has always worked to provide tech solutions that power the cannabis industry, from prohibition through legalization and to the current, ever-changing legal landscape. Now, in this time of crisis, we’re working even harder to ensure everyone in the industry, and the broader cannabis community stays safe while maintaining the essential access to cannabis products and services.
Andrew Hagstrom is the General Manager of Weedmaps Exchange, our B2B wholesale platform, and has been part of the company since December 2017. Contact the author at email@example.com or (949) 515–5089