Lifestyle

A New Social Network for Marijuana Users

by Tasbeeh Herwees

October 2, 2014
“Hash” tag illustration by Tyler Hoehne

The social-networking world is fraught with danger for marijuana consumers. Facebook won’t let you use a fake name, your mom follows you on Instagram and your Twitter account is strictly professional. Where’s a cannabis connoisseur to go when he or she wants to post photos of their other best buds? A nation turns its lonely, reddened eyes to MassRoots, the social network billing itself as a safe place for the cannabis community.

Fashioned in the likeness of Instagram, the mobile app facilitates interactions between marijuana enthusiasts around the United States, users and purveyors alike. Here, within the safe cyberwalls of MassRoots, users are free to post photos of their joints, buds, bongs, toking selfies, and marijuana memes away from the prying eyes of disapproving family, friends, and co-workers. Dispensaries can also use the app to connect with consumers directly, advertising new strains and specials on their photo feeds. The app’s founders also hope people will use the app to organize support around marijuana legislation and mobilize people for pro-pot rallies and petition signing.

“Just as LinkedIn has become a person's professional identity and Tinder has become a person's dating identity, we want MassRoots to be a person's marijuana identity,” the site proclaims.

Unlike Facebook, the only things required to sign up for the app are a username and password; users are not required to give their real names. The app already boasts 170,000 users (mostly between age 18 and 24) and more than 42 million interactions.

Mobile-app developers and stoner buddies Isaac Dietrich and Tyler Knight are the app’s ambitious architects. According to company lore, they came up with MassRoots while passing joints in Dietrich’s apartment in Norfolk, Virginia, more than a year ago. Previously, the two app founders worked for Scott Rigell’s (R-Va.) campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. Rigell does not support the legalization of marijuana use.

Dietrich and Knight have since moved to Colorado, where they are helping turn the state into “the Silicon Valley of cannabis.”  Just this week, MassRoots organized a marijuana technology hack-a-thon in Denver that gathered 150 developers, investors, and spectators in one place. 

"One of the stereotypes that we're trying to dispel is the fact that we smoke weed almost every day," Dietrich told the BBC. "But that doesn't mean that we're not productive—it doesn't mean that we don't do hard work.”

Dietrich and Knight’s effort may be paying off —this summer, the enterprising smokers raised almost half a million dollars in financing, for a total equity investment of $625,000.

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A New Social Network for Marijuana Users