Relatively few sectors or companies are able to show consistent growth in a bear market and down economy, but General Cannabis (CANA) represents just such a rarity. Even as other industries are struggling to make ends meet and find avenues for growth, Medical Marijuana has proven to be a consistent cash cow, growing in scope and profitability even as the struggles with the economy continue to stymie other businesses. In this context, the announcement today that WeedMaps Media, one of the properties of General Cannabis, has reached an agreement with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws [NORML] to revamp and run their website could mean further expansion of both their brands in an already growing marketplace.
The decision by NORML and WeedMaps to join forces is a move that should ultimately prove mutually beneficial to both parties in the long run. NORML's website has been the most reliable online source for legalization news and reports since its launch in 1999, drawing over 20,000 visitors a day. The site also features the NORML Audio Daily Stash podcast and the NORML blog, both popular among the medical marijuana community. WeedMaps, meanwhile, is an online directory of medical marijuana dispensaries organizing results on interactive maps and featuring reviews by users. The agreement by the two sites results in combining their features in a move that Justin Hartfield, Chief Web Officer of WeedMaps, estimates will increase traffic to both sites to 100,000 visitors a day and 10 million page views a month.
The newly designed NORML website is friendly to social media, a move geared towards taking better advantage of NORML's 40,000 Twitter followers and 350,000 Facebook Likes, and is geared towards improving membership in NORML's sister organization, the NORML Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness about marijuana through public advertising campaigns. WeedMaps is also powering the directory of doctors on NORML's site and making NORML the official news blog of WeedMaps.com. Looking forward, WeedMaps will ultimately sync their upcoming portal WeedMaps.com/lawyers, where WeedMaps users will be able to find, rate, and review lawyers specializing in medical marijuana cases, with NORML's Legal Committee legal directory when WeedMaps.com/lawyers is launched later in 2011.
The expansion of the medical marijuana industry appears poised to continue into the future. As the legal footing for medical marijuana improves, societal acceptance of the product is also gaining ground. The most recent Gallup poll on the subject showed that 50 percent of people polled agreed that marijuana should be legalized, up four points from a similar poll last year. California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently addressed the legal limbo between federal and state authorities when she urged federal prosecutors not to become overzealous in their recent crackdown on California dispensaries, stating last Thursday that “an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California.” WeedMaps, meanwhile, has shown a 300 percent year-to-year increase in profits and a full year and a half of consistent revenue gains, increasing their space in an industry estimated to exceed $40 billion in size.