Today, two giants of the cannabis industry are announcing a partnership to create an improved retail experience for consumers and dispensaries alike. Through this partnership, Leafly and Jane’s technology solutions will offer dispensaries powerful tools to sync online e-commerce with in-store inventory — something that is sorely lacking in the cannabis world.
Legal weed shoppers know the pain. A handful of different apps report to show the inventory of local dispensaries and yet, the online menus often do not line up with the store’s real-time inventory. What’s more, sometimes other dispensaries have different ways of listing the same product. There’s a good reason for the dispensaries: there’s not an industry standard UPC barcode and the dispensaries often have hundreds of fast-moving SKUs from dozens of vendors.
Leafly and Jane’s partnership seeks to solve the pain on both sides of the counter. Jane’s technology enables dispensaries to build a modern e-commerce platform through automation and machine learning. Jane’s technology will soon be built into Leafly’s Menu Solutions that works with over 30 point-of-sale systems. This should result in less tedious work for the dispensaries and a much more consistent online experience for the shopper.
Jane and Leafly have deep inroads into the cannabis world. According to this announcement’s press release, over the past year, Jane’s solution powered over 17 million orders and $2 billion in cannabis sales. Over 1,800 dispensaries and brands use Jane. Likewise, in 2020, more than 4,500 cannabis retailers used Leafly’s platform, and the company saw 120 million visitors to its online marketplace.
Despite the successes, Leafly experienced a turbulent 2020 with layoffs and leadership changes. Yoko Miyashita took over as the company’s CEO in August 2020 and has been focused on Leafly leaning heavily into building a better online shopping experience.
Right now, in early 2021, there isn’t an Amazon of weed or even a Shopify of weed for several reasons, but primarily because the cannabis industry is still under a federal prohibition. This solution pushes the cannabis industry closer to a modern e-commerce business. With Jane’s ability to standardize and auto-populate product listings, and Leafly’s deep point of sale integrations, both the consumer and dispensary sees benefits.
TechCrunch spoke to Leafly and Jane’s CEOs on this partnership. It’s clear that the two are excited about this project and see this partnership as a watershed moment for retail cannabis.
“[Dispensaries] don’t have a solution that can be seamless like a Shopify or Amazon,” Jane’s CEO Socrates Rosenfeldsaid. “I think, together with Jane’s ability to cleanse information in real-time, and essentially automate e-commerce for large brick and mortar selling sellers, combining that with Leafly’s consumer marketplace, we are making shopping for cannabis as simple as shopping on Amazon.”
TK explained that he sees this partnership goes behind an Amazon-like shopping experience. He sees this as a way of returning value and protecting local dispensaries by empowering them with technology.
“The problems in cannabis are unique enough, and the plant has a complexity that we want to honor,” Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita said. We don’t think we can get there with antiquated ways of doing things. It’s bringing the intentionality around shared values to innovate and ultimately empower the communities that we serve.”