Chronic success: the half-baked tale of WeedMaps

Would anybody be surprised to find a Vancouver connection to a website that’s finding huge success in California?

Probably not.

Better question: would anybody be surprised to find a Vancouver connection to a website that’s finding huge success in California by telling Californians where they can get pot?

Absolutely not.

That’s the story with WeedMaps, the brainchild of libertarian entrepreneur Justin Hartfield who hopes to cash in big time with the possibility of marijuana being legalized in California. His website is rapidly improving in both popularity and profitability thanks to proposed new laws in the Golden State. While a year ago his site was grossing $20,000 per month, that figure has increased to $300,000 in August and $400,000 in September of 2010, and now a “backdoor IPO” is in the works for the company.

TechCrunch has more about Hartfield, his business and his politics:

“We want to make buying a share in this company like buying a share in the legalization of marijuana cause,” he says. Hartfield — so unabashedly libertarian he could make Peter Thiel swoon — thinks markets are better ways of assessing public opinion than media or political polls. So, he argues, if people vote with their money for WeedMaps, it’ll be a proxy for how people feel about the practicality of legalization, which he sees as an inevitability.

Meanwhile, Hartfield is doing a weed/Web landgrab, taking nearly every business model that’s worked on the Web and building a weed version. His core site is like Yelp for weed, containing a database of more than 25,000 strains, where they can be found and reviews on dispensaries and headshops. He even offers an “elite” status.

Through a complicated series of name changes, acquisitions and ownership transfers, WeedMaps has been acquired by Vancouver-based firm LC Luxuries. LC Luxuries has an interesting back story; once called, and formerly owned by a Hell’s Angel member, LC Luxuries is getting into the weed game in California in a big way. They’ve started a company called U.S. Cannabis to manage medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as, which will provide services to dispensary industry.

At this rate, they might as well buy the rights to Doritos and Funyuns, because then they’ll have their hand in everything a cannabis connoisseur would ever need.

It’s an interesting story, and with all the money that’s being made (and invested), it seems like some some people have made up their minds about marijuana legalization — not only is it going to happen, it’s going to make money.

Now, if only they had a Vancouver-based version of this service. Seriously, my guy on Cambie sold me this total schwag last time; nothin’ but seeds and stems, I tell ya.