Leafly Archives - Green Market Report

Julie AitchesonJune 30, 2021


The Seeds of Change Report, released by Leafly for the first time this month, is an examination of how social justice, equity, and inclusion policies are implemented across the United States’ 19 legal cannabis markets as well as how cannabis legalization can implement eight key strategies to make the industry more fair and equitable. One of the most glaring statistics found in the report reflects that while Black people make up 14 percent of the population of the United States, only 2 percent of America’s estimated 30,000 cannabis companies are Black-owned.

This type of data is hardly shocking considering the systemic inequalities that disadvantage people of color at consumer, production and entrepreneurial levels within the industry. Leafly’s report offers context to these inequalities by providing a history of race and cannabis in the US as well as policy recommendations, academic resources for legislators, and actionable strategies that consumers can implement to advocate for changes within the industry.

Aside from ranking 18 states and the District of Columbia according to social justice, equity, and inclusion (SJEI), The Seeds of Change Report identifies eight distinct SJEI strategies for lawmakers to incorporate within cannabis legislation. States were ranked based on the degree to which they are implementing these eight strategies, which include: a mandate for automatic expungement of cannabis records; safeguarding rights and accessibility for medical patients; allowing reasonably regulated home growing operations; dedicating cannabis tax revenue to healing rather than harm; gathering robust data and sharing it widely; reducing stigma through proactive programs and supporting cannabis career development opportunities.

Findings from the report showed that although 1 in 20 Black Americans holds business equity in any company, Black Americans hold business equity in only 1 in 50 cannabis companies.  It also found that the criminal justice system, historical economic persecution, and healthcare access are the three leading barriers to cannabis opportunity in the US. Of the eight SJEI strategies identified by Leafly, homegrow and medical cannabis programs were the two most popular employed by states where cannabis is legal, though only 53 percent of legal use states are effectively implementing equity-focused licensing initiatives. There is a near-universal deficit in public health resources to help destigmatize cannabis, with 89 percent of legal use states posting low numbers in that regard. 63 percent of legal-use states are not reinvesting into disproportionately harmed communities with their cannabis revenue and/or taxes.  

The highest SJEI strategy rankings go to Colorado, California, Illinois, and New York, while Alaska, Maine, Montana, and South Dakota garnered the four lowest spots. Even given the rampant nature of systemic inequality in the US, Leafly’s numbers are sobering and point to an ongoing need to confront the fact that, according to Seeds of Change author Janessa Bailey, “Black and brown communities continue to pay the highest price for cannabis prohibition.” She is hopeful, though, that the eight SJEI strategies proposed by the report “lay out eight real strategies that any state can include within cannabis legalization to build an industry that is as accessible as it is profitable.”


Debra BorchardtMarch 24, 2020


Private cannabis company Leafly laid off 91 employees this week amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Former Leafly editor Ben Adlin announced on Twitter that he had heard Leafly had made the layoffs which were later confirmed by the company. Adlin also noted the company still owed him $6,700. Adlin’s employment was prior to the pandemic layoffs.

“Today Leafly eliminated the roles of 91 employees across the company, 39% of our workforce. We’re heartbroken to have let so many talented people go in such an uncertain time. Although Leafly continues to grow and rapidly deploy pickup and delivery services for retailers and brands across North America, COVID-19 has rocked global financial markets and put further capital investments we were expecting on pause. This workforce reduction will allow us to be financially self-sufficient so we can continue to help consumers and patients learn about and order cannabis online while providing cannabis retailers and brands the services they need during this global crisis,” said CEO  Tim Leslie in a statement.

The company said it would provide one week of severance pay for the laid-off employees and two months of health insurance

Viridian Capital has acknowledged the slowdown in capital raises for the cannabis industry. The company recently wrote, “Capital raise activity for the week ended March 6th remained slow for the third week in a row, bucking the trend of increased capital raise activity that we’ve been reporting on since the beginning of 2020.”

Leafly had established itself as a provider of news and reviews for cannabis companies. It boasted strong traffic numbers, which allowed the company to charge top dollar for its reviews. In 2019, the company embarked on an expansion project to create a CBD e-commerce element to the website as well. It quickly increased the number of employees to as many as 300 with workers based in Seattle as well as Austin TX.

Green Market Report interviewed Leafly during the MJ Biz conference in December in which the company described its growth and plans for future data including data mining from user searches. There was also a back-office product to help dispensaries run their business called Leafly Insights. One month later in January, Leafly cut 54 employees.

Formerly With Privateer

Leafly had been a part of the private equity Privateer Holdings portfolio, but then the company was spun out to be independent. Former Leafly founders Cy ScottBrian Wansolich and Scott Vickers departed to launch another Seattle-area marijuana company, Headset. Headset is essentially the business that Leafly Insights looks to be emulating.

The company raised $2.3 million in October even as it was announcing plans to scale back its growth. Leafly still lists several jobs available on the company’s website.

Video StaffDecember 18, 2019


The Green Market Report had a chance to sit down with Leafly’s Dave Cotter at the recent MJ Biz Conference in Las Vegas Nevada.

Debra Borchardt:             Leafly is known for its strain reviews and locating dispensaries. Now the company has an online eCommerce marketplace.

Dave Cotter:                       Leafly Market is an eCommerce site for purchasing the largest selection of CBD products. We just launched that and it’s really the beginning of us expanding from what we’ve done around news, what we’ve done with strains into a full marketplace for not only CBD but as a way for individuals to also get connected very easily to dispensary’s and the brands that they love.

So if you think of our portfolio from a product perspective, we have the consumer-facing piece, which is really kind of the news and our cannabis guide and content. You then have this marketplace piece, which is the eCommerce funnel. As you come out of learning about something, you find a product and you’re able to purchase it. And then we have this back-office suite and those are the tools that are used by a dispensary and you know, brands to help them run their business.

And as part of that suite, we make data available to them. And so we launched Leafly Insights, which is a data package that allows the dispensary, whether it’s a mom and pop or a large MSO, to understand that what strains are popular, what pricing you have happening in your area. And for a lot of those dispensary’s because they’re competing in very tight geographic areas. Understanding how much to charge, understanding what’s popular is super, super critical for them to remain competitive. And so we made that available and make that announcement today as well.

We announced our partnership with the American Marijuana Medical Physicians Association and it’s really the beginning of us working with them to really push the science forward as far as cannabis and the medical community. As part of that, we’ll be working on joint curriculum, so we’ll be coming out with different curriculum pieces for doctors. We also are making it easy for patients to be connected to doctors if they’re looking to cannabis or understanding what the cannabis do potentially for them. So it’s really, really exciting to be able to partner.

Debra Borchardt:             Leafly felt that it was an organic move to provide eCommerce. The customers were already coming onto the website and reading about specific strains in dispensary’s or reading news about different products. They just naturally wanted to make purchases.

Dave Cotter:                       What we have done is really just kind of responded to where our customers are pulling us, which is now that I understand or now that I’m educated, I now want to buy something. And so we’re creating a platform that allows them to do so. And as part of that continuing to make certain that we’re giving, you know, really easy to use tools for our dispensary partners to help them better run their business. So it’s really an extension of what we’ve already done. And so we’re super excited to really, to kind of unveil a lot of it today.

We basically settled in the Seattle area we knew that we wanted to make our expansion and so, you know, we onboarded more developers in our Seattle office. We have an awesome team down in Austin and they were really the backbone for creating this new marketplace experience. And it’s been a really cool kind of addition I think to the Leafly culture. Because you’ve got, you know, individuals who are deep in investigative reporting. You have individuals who are really deep at the science and now you have this kind of software culture as well. And it’s a really cool kind of mix of professions all really striving for kind of a higher power and a bigger opportunity. So it’s been really, really fun.

StaffJanuary 15, 2019


Top cannabis database now offers consumers precise product location and pricing information through the Flowhub API

Seattle, WA – January 15, 2019 /AxisWire/ Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis information resource, and Flowhub, the award-winning cannabis compliance and point of sale provider, are today announcing their new, real-time integration to help cannabis dispensaries drive visibility and automate online menus.

As the world’s leading source for consumers to find cannabis, Leafly.com sees more than 16 million monthly visits and offers localized dispensary listings in legal cannabis markets. Now Leafly is partnering with Flowhub in order to show real-time dispensary inventory and pricing for every strain and product.

Updating online menus is a huge part of marketing for cannabis retailers, a task which can often be time consuming and inefficient. With the new Leafly and Flowhub integration, dispensaries can now automatically update their online menus on Leafly to match their live inventory in Flowhub’s industry-leading POS system. The Flowhub solution allows retailers and managers to save time on manual data entry, while providing accurate information and a seamless shopping experience for their potential customers on Leafly.

“Everyone can relate to the disappointment of showing up to a store only to learn that the product you want isn’t available. Our integration with Leafly prevents this type of poor customer experience from happening. Leafly has long been considered a top community website in the global cannabis movement and Flowhub has experienced rapid growth, with hundreds of dispensaries using our software to process over $1B in cannabis sales annually. Together with Leafly, we’re bringing the way consumers find and buy cannabis into the digital age.” says Kyle Sherman, CEO of Flowhub.

“By integrating with Flowhub, Leafly continues to offer the best point-of-sale integrations to partner dispensaries,” said Jason Makuch, Chief Product Officer at Leafly. “Leafly’s goal is to create a world-class user experience for product discovery while helping dispensaries grow their businesses at the same time.”

Consolidation of high-tech tools such as these is important for the future of legal cannabis. The industry faces unique challenges compared to any other industry, and business owners require a suite of products that are custom-built for the cannabis space which work seamlessly with one another.

The integration between the two technologies is officially live as of today. To learn more or to request a demo of Flowhub, visit flowhub.com.

About Flowhub

Powering the largest retailers in the industry, Flowhub is the leading compliance and point of sale software for cannabis dispensaries in the United States. Built specifically to serve the highly regulated industry, Flowhub is helping nearly 500 cannabis retailers grow revenue, stay compliant, and manage inventory. Founded in 2015 by former Compliance Officer, Kyle Sherman, Denver-based Flowhub processes over $1B in cannabis sales annually and is backed by industry investors like Poseidon Asset Management, Green Lion Partners, Phyto Partners, and Altitude. Learn more at flowhub.com.

About Leafly

As the world’s leading source for consumers to find cannabis, Leafly’s mission is to help patients and consumers make informed choices about cannabis and to empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at www.leafly.comand download the five-star rated Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Visit Leafly.com, Leafly Canada at Leafly.ca, Leafly Germany at Leafly.de, Leafly in Spanish at Leafly.es, and Leafly in French at Fr.Leafly.ca.

Debra BorchardtSeptember 25, 2018


Longtime cannabis publication High Times has acquired print magazine Dope Media in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal is a combination of stock and cash. High Times has been building a portfolio of cannabis titles including Green Rush Daily and Culture.

“DOPE is a very strategic acquisition for our portfolio offering key complementary assets to our existing platforms and opening the opportunity for economies of scale to improve the performance of all our entire publication group,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times. The statement also noted that Dope holds its largest Dope Cup events in Seattle and Portland and the company sees this as an additive event to the existing Cannabis Cup events where High Times earns a majority of its revenue.

High Times said that there would be no staff changes at this time. DOPE’s CEO, George Jage, founders Dave Tran, James Zachondi, and Evan Carter will all remain. Jage, was once the President of Marijuana Business Daily and the driving force behind Marijuana Business Conference [MJBizCon], has received numerous distinctions for his work including the Nevada Entrepreneur of the Year award from In Business Magazine, Jerry Valen Award of Distinction “Hospitality & Convention Executive of the Year” and most recently was on the cover of Trade Show Executive in May 2017 following receiving the award for the Fastest Growing Tradeshow in the U.S. for two consecutive years.

“This is the perfect marriage of two like-minded businesses. As the largest cannabis consumer media company, High Times offers immense visibility across the country, and globe, like no one else in the space,” said George Jage, CEO of DOPE Magazine. “Utilizing their expertise we will be able to rapidly expand our footprint across the country and offer state-specific advertising solutions at a speed that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year. He is now the Co-founder of a blockchain news site call Blockler.


Just a week ago High Times said that it had received subscriptions and funds in excess of $5,000,000 from investors which enabled it to complete the $5 million financial milestone in its proposed maximum $50.0 million Regulation A+ offering of up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock at an offering price of $11.00 per share.  High Times also decided to extend its deadline for investing in the company to October 31, 2018.

Levin said the company had received support and purchases from over 6,000 investors. With 6,000 investors only bringing in $5 million, many of these investors must be on the small side. The company did not provide clarification on the average amount invested.

High Times never did close on its deal with Origo Capital. If you’ll recall, Origo Acquisition Corp. (OACQ) filed to change its name to High Times Media on December 29, 2017, and convert from a Cayman Islands company to a Nevada corporation and change its symbol. Origo merged with High Times Holding Corp., the publisher of High Times Magazine in July of 2017. Following the merger, the company has applied to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol HITM. Its been months since the two companies announced a merger, but it has yet to close. The deal deadline continues to be extended. Levin has said it could still happen.

Leafly Ousts CEO

Separately GeekWire reported that cannabis review website Leafly ousted its CEO Chris Jeffrey, who wasn’t even in the position for a year. Privateer Holdings that owns Leafly issued this statement to Geekwire,

“This morning the Board of Directors of Leafly removed Chris Jeffrey from his role as Chief Executive Officer. The Board made the decision to replace Mr. Jeffrey as CEO after careful consideration due to concerns about his management of the company. The Board has full confidence in Leafly’s senior leadership team and has initiated a search for a new CEO. Out of respect for CJ and the contributions he has made to Leafly, we are not going to go into detail about the circumstances surrounding his departure.

Leafly is experiencing rapid growth with more than 150 employees on the ground in 5 countries and 7 states. The health of Leafly’s business and the strength of the company’s team are stronger than ever before. Leafy has positive momentum and we have never been more excited about the global growth prospects in front of the company.”

Leafly has been receiving a lot of attention as its fellow Privateer company Tilray (TLRY) has taken the cannabis stock market by storm. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azur has said she believes that Tilray’s access to Leafly’s data will help the company stay on top of consumer trends.

Leafly hasn’t been able to deliver as big of a footprint as its competitor WeedMaps, but then Leafly has chosen to not work with unlicensed operators. Jeffery cut back on headcount when he came to the company and boosted engineers to improve the company’s technology.

William SumnerApril 4, 2018


The cannabis technology company, MassRoots (MSRT), today reaffirmed its commitment to being compliant with California state law by announcing that it would only list state-licensed cannabis dispensaries on its platform.

Over the next few weeks, the company intends to launch an updated version of its business portal and dispensary finder. In order to become listed on MassRoots, cannabis dispensaries will have to pay the company a minimum of $199 a month.

The announcement comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding MassRoots competitor, Weedmaps. Last month, Weedmaps received a cease-and-desist letter from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) demanding that the company stop listing unlicensed dispensaries on its platform.

Defying the bureau’s request, Weedmaps responded by saying that the bureau does not have the authority to regulate it and that the site “interactive computer service” covered under the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects technology companies from prosecution over any illicit activities performed on their platform.

Weedmaps also argued they by not listing unlicensed dispensaries, the state is merely ignoring the underlying regulatory issues as to why those dispensaries are unlicensed in the first place. Nevertheless, other competitors, such as Leafly and now MassRoots, have announced that they would no longer list illegal dispensaries. So far, the state has not taken any action against Weedmaps but that hardly means that the fight is yet over.

“We believe that operating in full compliance with state cannabis regulations is crucial to creating long-term, sustainable shareholder value and building confidence with consumers as well as local, state and federal regulatory organizations,” said MassRoots CEO, Isaac Dietrich, in a statement. “Other services that continue to drive traffic to unlicensed dispensaries are punishing businesses that have invested significant time and resources to gain compliance with state regulations. We view this as an opportunity to build long-term relationships with compliant dispensaries that we believe are the future of the cannabis industry.”

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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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