The future is a place where you can get the urge to smoke some weed on a whim while out bar-hopping, whip out your smartphone, search hundreds of different strains to find exactly what kind of high you're looking for, and then pick up an eighth at the pot shop closest to your current location.
Actually, the future is now, if you live in one of the US states that's legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana and download the new Leafly app, which aggregates info and crowdsourced reviews of some 650 strains of cannabis.
Leafly's a strain-indexing startup often described as the "Yelp of cannabis"—with "strong notes of Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary" mixed in, pointed out my colleague Brian Anderson, who talked with Leafly cofounder Brian Wansolich last year for Motherboard's documentary High Country.
The Seattle startup was launched in 2010 to be an educational resource for cannabis connoisseurs. Like other marijuana directory apps, such as WeedMaps, it collects information from some 800,000 crowdsourced user reviews. Now the company's revamped its mobile app to combine its menu of strains with geolocation—so Yelp, Wikipedia, and Urban Dictionary with a bit of Grindr thrown in.
The main update to the app is that you can now filter strain searches to find the specific effect or flavor you're angling for. I searched for something "relaxed" and "talkative" and settled on a pure sativa called Pineapple Trainwreck that promises a "clear-headed" feel that "hits hard at first but mellows into a state where being sociable or getting things done is possible."
Unfortunately, I live in New York, so until Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes good on his promise to legalize the drug for medical use, filtering for nearby dispensaries turned up zilch.
But with more states easing up on pot laws, and the Justice Department signaling last month that it would loosen regulations to make it easier for banks to lend money to marijuana businesses, the cannabis industry is growing fast, and Leafly’s just one of the startups poised to cash in on the green rush.