As cannabis legalization slowly spreads around the globe, the need for a platform that provides a community and fosters a safe harbor for topical discourse and transactional business also has grown. Enter Leafwire, the world’s largest cannabis business network.
The Denver-based cannabis-focused social media platform was developed to fill that globally expanding need, because legalization does not automatically bring destigmatization. A quick look at the history of legal cannabis highlights this truth.
In November 2012, Colorado and Washington State voters ushered in radically new recreational cannabis laws allowing for cultivation, production, distribution, and sale of products to adults over 21. Since then, several states’ voters and legislatures followed suit, bringing with them more and more jobs, employees, professionals, transactions, connections, and ultimately, conversations, and content.
But the topic of cannabis, and its myriad pejoratives like “pot,” “weed,” and even “marijuana,” doesn’t always sit well in a traditional business setting. The same is true online. Cannabis business professionals aren’t always comfortable sharing and conversing about the plant in an open business forum like LinkedIn.
“When we first launched Leafwire to a primarily domestic, U.S. audience in 2018, marijuana still had a stigma around it despite emerging statewide legalization to one degree or another,” said Peter Vogel, founder and CEO of Leafwire. “Four years later, significant progress has been made in state cannabis legalization, but that stigma still very much remains.”
Two years after Colorado and Washington’s major cannabis legalization measures, a 2016 study by the Adam Smith Institute in the U.K. argued the growing international tide of mainstream acceptance, understanding and support for legalization of cannabis will ultimately force drug reform across the globe.
The theory held true for countries like Germany, where full recreational cannabis legalization has become the topic du jour, with federal regulators committing to make laws an eventual reality. And in a startling development, Thailand made it legal to grow and trade marijuana, even distributing 1 million cannabis plants so people are able to cultivate plants at home.
Much in the same way the cannabis plant spread across the world throughout the centuries, so to, has the need for a modern day digital platform to conduct safe, secure, effective business discourse about the world’s most exciting crop.
“As emerging markets in Europe continue to liberalize cannabis policy, a stigma-free platform like Leafwire provides a big appeal to industry participants,” said Anuj Desai, host of the podcast “The Cannabis Conversation” and practicing attorney. “Sharing insights and learnings, as well as job and business opportunities, is critical for the development of the sector.”
Rise of specialized social networks
Beyond business discourse, Leafwire seeks to create a community for like-minded cannabis operators and entrepreneurs, a space for free discussion and shared experiences. It does this in many ways, including:
Mainstream social media platforms like Facebook have faced public and legislative criticism for how they mine and sell user data, leaving users overwhelmingly concerned about the privacy and security of their accounts. Leafwire protects user data from third-party interests and does not monetize the data.
This breeds an element of trust and security that Leafwire users have with the platform and liberates them to more openly share their data.
Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT), one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S. was named to Fortune magazine’s 2019 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list, ranking 58 among the world’s top three-year performers in revenues, profits, and stock returns. The reason for this is, in part, because the gym prides itself on its philosophy of fostering a “no judgment” environment.
Leafwire’s cannabis social network offers this same type of unique “belonging” in what is a very niche, exclusive industry. In so doing, the platform encourages members to freely share their insights and opinions on policies, news, and affairs that they might otherwise be reluctant to divulge in a more public social media forum.
A welcoming, yet exclusive and focused, community
Exclusive social media platforms like Leafwire tap into the scarcity effect, or the cognitive bias that makes people place a higher value on things that are scarce or limited. While access to social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are ubiquitous, the industry-exclusive, topic-driven nature of Leafwire galvanizes its “cool factor.”
Leafwire has 50,000 registered cannabis professionals across more than 100 countries, giving it broader reach than many mainstream social networks. Leafwire’s global event calendar boasts more than 100 events from Switzerland to Colombia to Texas.
The platform’s job board features more than 10,000 jobs, from a vice president of operations and extraction in Arizona, to a sanitation supervisor in Virginia.
“We invite like-minded cannabis professionals to join the specialized, exclusive Leafwire business network, as it continues to grow both domestically here in the U.S., and well as abroad,” Vogel said.