How startups are revolutionizing the medical marijuana industry

By Michael Krumholtz February 5, 2018

With at least four out of every five U.S. voters now supporting medical marijuana, according to polls, industry perception has seen a meteoric rise in favorability over the past few years.

A number of startups have begun to take advantage of this trend to normalize legal cannabis by bolstering the industry with convenient technologies that have already been popularized in other fields.


For instance, a banking startup for legal cannabis is facilitating the buying process for companies and clients. The Colorado-based CanPay allows users to make payments with a debit card inside cannabis dispensaries. Since debit and credit cards from most banks still deny payments to medical marijuana operations, CanPay makes payments easy and secure by making sure users don’t have to carry around cash each time they visit their dispensary.


There’s even a social network for cannabis, in case you want to link up with like-minded patients and consumers. The network, called Kannatopia, allows users to connect with companies and brands prominent in the cannabis industry, while also sharing advice and experiences on their favorite products, marijuana strains, and dispensaries.

Kannatopia executives say their platform can further serve as a needed marketing catalyst for cannabis-related companies.

“Many cannabis companies struggle to have a presence on social media as they often have their social media pages shut down,” said Kurt Akers, CEO and Co-Founder of Kannatopia. “This means they miss out on driving traffic from these accounts and more business. We hope to strengthen the community by providing a fair and safe environment for prosperous interactions.” 


Another online tool, PrestoDoctor, offers private appointments online with licensed doctors where users can receive a personalized medical plan and medical marijuana cards in New York, California or Nevada. The online medical advice site that stresses client privacy gives patients the chance to have one-on-one chats with doctors via video calls.


A job site called Chronic Jobs is yet another startup that allows interested workers to get their feet in the door of an industry that is expected to reach an employment rate of 250,000 people within the next two years. Constantly advertising for jobs like account managers and sales associates, the online job board gives applicants the chance to get reputable and well-paying opportunities.

“We have tried to make it as easy as possible for candidates and employers to find each other,” Chronic Jobs Founder Steve Monas told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution last year. “We created a safe space for them to come together that caters to the specific needs and qualifications of this industry.”

There is still huge room for growth in this rising industry in the U.S., which has given the state of Colorado more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue since its decriminalization in 2014, according to CNN Money. These startups are just a few examples of ways new businesses can carve out space to take advantage of this relatively new source of capital.