Dan Nelson has a dream. His dream is to offer an easy way to find the cheapest chronic in your pro-ganja neighborhood. While you could simply ask your buddy Badger how much he pays, Nelson thought, why not create a website? And so he did.
Wikileaf is a price comparison engine for pot dispensaries. You put in your location and how far you’re willing to travel and the system scours the dank web for pot prices. Think of it as Expedia for herb or Kayak for Kush.
“My background is in banking. I’ve run a successful banking website/blog full time since 2008 and have logged countless hours mulling over interest rate tables. To me, the parallels between banking and marijuana were surprisingly striking and the ways in which banks and credit unions compete against one another online provided an easy framework to apply to the emerging marijuana industry,” said Nelson. “As anyone who’s ever searched for medical marijuana dispensaries online knows there are dozens of websites that all do the same thing. They show where dispensaries are on a map and maybe have some menu options for dispensaries to update. These sites are great and work for a lot of people, but we knew there was a major opportunity in comparing prices openly from these dispensaries and thus forcing them to compete against one another in a completely open and transparent marketplace.”
Nelson hopes to make dispensaries more transparent with his tool. Because each location can set its own prices – and because of the current density of dispensaries in towns like Seattle and Denver – it makes little sense for these companies to advertise their prices unless something like Wikileaf comes along and opens up the various costs associated with picking up a little bud.
“I’m from Seattle, and here in certain parts of the city you can literally stand at the entrance of one dispensary and huck a rock to another dispensary. That’s how abundant they are. The only problem is their current prices and inventory aren’t out in the open. And to make matters worse their store fronts are generally discreet and vague. With wikileaf I wanted to hit two birds with one stone and solve both of these problems in one clean and tidy package,” he said. Dispensaries can update their prices and even add THC strength to their inventory descriptions, allowing users to fine tune their shopping experience.
So far, Nelson has shied away from investment.
“We’ve boot-strapped this with my own personal funds along with minor investments from family,” he said. “That being said, we’re being approached with investor inquires daily and in the coming weeks and months we will be weighing our options for additional funding sources.
The company is still small – he’s only hired a few programmers – but the market has huge potential. Sadly, those in backwater cities like New York can’t yet use the service but here’s hoping that some day it will be 4:20 all day, every day around the world.