Leafly is a Yelp-like website for reviews on marijuana dispensaries and strains and is world’s largest cannabis information resource
Leafly began like most traditional startup stories. The realization of a gap in the market and the drive and gumption to try and fill it.
When confronted with a doctor’s recommendation to consider medical marijuana, Scott Vickers, one of Leafly’s original founders, went to a dispensary and was presented with an overwhelming selection of different cannabis products. “At the time, we were familiar with the general categorization of different strains — you know, indica, sativa and hybrids — but we didn’t understand how nuanced the strains could be, the different effects they could have and the different reasons people would take one over another,” said Leafly co-founder, Cy Scott. “And so in tracking that, [we solved] our own problem using spreadsheets to understand what we did and didn’t like.” Scott continued, “We figured if we had this need, others would as well — a location or service where people could go and read reviews or create a journal of what they like and aggregating and anonymizing that and presenting it back to other people that are interested in the same space: new patients, new consumers looking for good information on strains.”
And so Leafly was born, making the process of finding the right strains and products for consumers fast, simple and comfortable. The site helps patients determine which cannabis strain is appropriate for their particular symptoms and then directs the patient to a near by dispensary. At launch, Leafly debuted 17 strain reviews. Today they boast a massive database of nearly 147,000 reviews.
Leafly began with the foundation of strain reviews and the idea that connection was key. Getting the customer to the exact location where they could procure a particular genetic strain was critical to the business. And so a dispensary-locator service was integrated into the platform where customers can rate and review specific dispensaries much like they rate and review specific strains. The user can see a dispensary location and read its menu so they know what to expect when they arrive. Strong and engaging editorial content was eventually added to the site which now generates close to 6 million monthly visits and 31 million page views across both its web page and mobile apps.
Leafly prides itself on being a mainstream brand offering a mainstream product consumed by mainstream Americans. “There’s a counterculture, a subculture, but there are also average Americans in New York and Kansas and Oklahoma that consume this product. They’re just looking for brands that don’t insult them,” said Leafly CEO Brendan Kennedy. “That’s why Leafly doesn’t have all the stereotypical cliches. You can show Leafly to a 25-year-old; you can show it to a 50-year-old soccer mom; you can even show it to someone’s grandmother. That’s not true for every brand in this industry.”
Whether brand new to cannabis, somebody who tried marijuana in their youth, but now that it’s legal in certain markets they are looking to learn more about it, or patients who are seeking something that will help them with specific conditions and symptoms, Leafly is able to steer each individual towards what they need. Leafly’s Explore Tool searches across thousands of cannabis strains, topicals, edibles and concentrates, and filters by effects, flavors, medical uses, and more. The Leafly Finder searches for dispensaries, delivery services, co-ops, access points, and storefronts in the user’s area, allowing to sort by product availability, affordability, veterans discount, ADA accessibility, and more.
Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington and is wholly owned by Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm focused on the emerging legal cannabis industry.