Yelp-Like Marijuana Dispensary App Makes Way to Massachusetts

The app, called weedmaps, is one of several being marketed that provides locations of medical marijuana dispensaries, along with customer reviews.

by Neal Simpson, The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass. / February 9, 2017
University of Akron students team up to create a mobile device that will catch marijuana users under the influence. Flickr/Carlos Gracia
University of Akron students team up to create a mobile device that will catch marijuana users under the influence.Ganja by Carlos Gracia, on Flickr

(TNS) -- QUINCY, Mass. - One user praised the edible products, particularly the coffee-pistachio fudge.

Another had kind words for the "bud tenders," calling them "friendly and knowledgeable."

A third simply said, "It got me high as a kite."

As the comments illustrate, there really is an app for everything, even medical marijuana dispensaries.

The California company behind an app called weedmaps - sometimes referred to as the Yelp of marijuana - recently started making a major push into Massachusetts, putting up more than 80 billboards across the state, including in prominent locations in Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth and Hull.

The app is one of several being marketed that provides locations of medical marijuana dispensaries, along with customer reviews like the ones above about Ermont on Ricciuti Drive in Quincy.

Weedmaps president Chris Beals, whose billboard campaign comes less than three months after Massachusetts voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, called the new law, "a once in a lifetime kind of change."

Founded in 2008, weedmaps was among the first technology companies to try to connect a growing number of legal marijuana businesses - which are barred from advertising through more established online platforms, including Facebook - with users unfamiliar with the experience of buying marijuana in a retail setting. It has since been joined by a number of rivals, including Leafly, Canna-Findr and MassRoots.

Beals said he hopes his company's app will help marijuana users in Massachusetts navigate the confusing period of time between the legalization of recreational marijuana use this past December and the opening of retail marijuana shops, which isn't expected until July 2018.

Marijuana now sold at the state's nine medical dispensaries is intended for medical use, although you wouldn't know that from the reviews on weedmaps, and can only be purchased by patients with a state-issued medical marijuana card.

"We really arose out of this idea that there was a lack of information, and technology can really serve to bridge the information divide," Beals said.

On Tuesday, the weedmaps app showed six strains of marijuana for sale at Ermont, including "Medicine Man" and "Master Kush Skunk," along with high-resolution images of each offering. Also advertised were cherry-flavored lozenges, cherry fruit chews and pumpkin spice white chocolate bars.

The dispensary, which opened this past October, has been reviewed 95 times on the app, receiving an average of 4.7 stars out of 5, although one customer complained about the marijuana being "a little dry."

©2017 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.