Eddie Miller, the 30-year-old founder of a budding pot empire, doesn’t come off as your typical weed advocate. And yet, his company eCann Inc., is an extensive technology platform for the weed industry that could add more steam to the end of prohibition movement sweeping the country.
“Right now the opportunity is the best because the market is being regulated in many states,” Miller told iDigitalTimes. “Every six months there’s a new revelation and a new revolution that's happening. Even here in New York state in about eight months cannabis will be regulated and there will be a very small amount of patients that will be eligible to purchase medicinal cannabis.”
There are currently four states including the District of Columbia that have legalized weed for recreational use, per Mother Jones. About a dozen more states are expected to allow legalized weed for recreational use in the next couple of years. And it’s easier to count the number of states (10) that aren’t working on creating or expanding medical marijuana programs.
Despite these holdouts, Miller sees the inevitable legalization of marijuana at the federal level. He also sees a massive business opportunity. So he founded eCann Inc. in New York almost two years ago to bring technology to the pot business.
For growers, dispensaries and pot entrepreneurs that means giving them the technological tools for handling logistics, tracking inventory and connecting them to customers. There’s even a cannabis commodities exchange, called The Chex, in the works.
For consumers, there’s Greenrush, a GrubHub-like weed delivery app; plans for Meet Buds, a Tinder for stoners dating app and High Roller Tours, offering weed vacation packages complete with stays at 420-friendly hotels.. For politically-minded potheads, Legalization.org, launching later this year will be the place to keep abreast on all legalization news and the pot stance of different candidates in the upcoming election.
Invest in Cannabis is the eCann’s flagship web property that brings together Miller’s sprawling collection of pot-related companies.
“Invest in Cannabis.com really showcases multiple investments opportunities that we've put together in the cannabis industry,” Miller said. “It also teaches investors or any type of entrepreneur that's entering the cannabis industry all about cannabis.”
The inspiration for the site came partly from Miller’s own reluctance to enter the pot industry.
“When I first began I was very reluctant because I thought it was illegal,” he said. “I did about 45 days of due diligence in July of 2013. Until I was able to ascertain to a certainty it was actually very safe and very legal and that there were a lot of things that were completely legitimate in this industry, I didn't decide to enter it.
“Invest in Cannabis has a lot of information for investors to be able to decide for themselves if they're willing to take some of the risks in order to enter the industry,” Miller continued. “More so, I'll say that it's the ground floor of investment into the industry. I've launched multiple companies in various sub sectors of the cannabis space. I need to be able to have a great way to showcase those investment opportunities to investors across the world.”
One company eCann is currently seeking funding for is Greenrush, the medical marijuana delivery platform that first launched in San Francisco about a month ago. The premise is simple, medicinal marijuana patients order from one of 10 dispensaries in the Bay Area and their weed is delivered to their door in less than an hour.
According to Miller, nearly 2,000 users signed up for the Greenrush app in its first month and just processed order No. 3,000. The dispensaries’ delivery people check IDs and collect payments at the door. The app doesn’t process any payments but collects a fee from the dispensary for every transaction.
“We’re not sellers of cannabis. We don’t touch the plant. None of our businesses touch the plant,” Miller said. “We are providers of technology and infrastructure because we believe that is the single greatest empowerment tool for any small business operator.”
“Up until two years ago I would say this industry was completely in the dark,” he said. “From two years forward, companies like mine have entered the fray and our goal is complete transparency. That’s why we use the cloud. That’s why all of our infrastructure is built in the cloud.
“Investors that are investing in the industry they invest in companies like ours or companies that use our platforms because they’re able to really see what’s going on as opposed an industry that’s completely in the dark," Miller said.
And if all goes to plan, you’re probably going to hear a lot more about Greenrush by the end of the year, even in New York where medical marijuana use is extremely restricted.
Miller doesn’t necessarily think weed should be completely legal in this state but he does think the current medical marijuana laws are too restrictive.
“I believe that the first step for New York is a less restrictive medical marijuana program,” he said. “Right now there's only 17 afflictions and they're really very serious afflictions. That’s too restrictive because I think cannabis medicinally can help for sleep disorder, can help for anxiety and it can be a great replacement for regular prescription pills. I think in general we eat too many of those so cannabis as a natural substitute for that is a much better replacement.”
So far the app, which is only available in San Francisco, has relied on word of mouth and some press to get the word out. But eCann is hoping to leverage Miller’s other company WeSell.com, which has subsidiaries that organize cruises, pub crawls and other events, as part of a national advertising push.
According to Miller, his various companies sell more than 350,000 tickets across America every year to cruises, pub crawls and New Year’s events. And soon these ticket holders will receive credits to use for the Greenrush app.
"We'll be branding this business across the country,” he said. “So even though in New York there won't be medicinal cannabis easily accessible at first, Greenrush will be here and advertising.”