The cannabis industry is the ideal marketplace for “budding” entrepreneurs to make a name for themselves. According to CNBC, cannabis is projected to be a $70 billion market by 2028. And because there is still a massive amount of untapped potential due to the fact many states have not legalized medical or adult-use, that number could climb higher.
Cannabis advocates and entrepreneurs who have been harmed by a draconian system that once penalized them for their interest in the plant are now free to explore the many avenues offered in the burgeoning industry, leading to unprecedented innovation.
How It Works
Transactions, or “swaps” can be made at recommended locations such as dispensaries, or app users can determine an agreed upon location.
Every user must agree to Budswap’s terms of service which include no liability for any illegal activity that occurs during a swap.
However, Miller stressed that his team would crack down on any unscrupulous activity occurring during swaps such as prescription bartering or theft.
Along with swaps, users can trade their cannabis for services such as walking their dogs or cleaning their cars.
Essentially it’s a bartering system where cannabis can be used as cash.
However, for legal purposes, the app only allows users to “gift” the cannabis to one another, as states are stringent on how the plant is bought and sold.
The services rendered do not constitute a transactions but rather, favors and gifts.
The app also features a rating system similar to that of Uber, where users can rate and comment on the quality of their swaps.
Miller is a true grassroots entrepreneur, and he will be the first to tell you the road to creating the app was not an easy one.
However, a combination of determination, a clear vision, and a supportive cannabis community have coalesced to put Miller on the path to success.
Endorsements from some of the biggest players in the industry including Redman, Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg, and many others have come over the last two years.
Cannabis & Tech Today had the opportunity to talk with Miller about his journey from development to launch. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Cannabis & Tech Today: So where are you based?
Anthony Miller: We got two business licenses. One out of Colorado and then, one out of California.
C&T Today: I checked out a couple of things on social media, and I saw a post from Redman. He was promoting the app, so that is awesome.
AM: Yes, sir the list it just-
C&T Today: It’s growing. Where’s the app at right now? In terms of development? And as far as funding?
AM: Right now, it’s in development.
C&T Today: Okay. So, what does that mean?
AM: We’re about $42,000 away from having this thing coded in the app store.
C&T Today: Got it. So you’ve already got the business license. You’re in the last phase of funding, and what about the advertising for it? What are you doing?
AM: All right, a couple of other things that we did as well, that are part of, that I should mention to you. We got the patent pending for the intellectual property.
We got the trademark on Google, as well as through the USPTO. But as far as marketing, we’re on the ground, boot traffic. Word of mouth, gas stations. Incredible marketing. Guerrilla for real, it’s what it is.
I literally got up on Instagram, and I thought of a concept based off of relationship building, because that’s what every business is about.
All you got to do is get on whoever’s Instagram that you want to get in touch with, and see who they’re following. Check their profile out. See what kind of person there is. Boom. And then, decide to build a relationship with them.
The first thing I did was I reached out to two men on Snoop Dogg’s page by the name of TwinSkills LLC. And they were licensed plumbers. They did community work. I’m seeing all of this on their profile. Sent a message to these men. I said, this is what I’m trying. I said, “What’s the best way to get in touch with you to discuss some business?” I know everybody wants to make money. If you’re about business, people respect that.
So they gave me a number and I reached out to them. And the first thing I said, “Hey, how did y’all get Snoop Dogg following y’all on Instagram?” And they shared that with me. They said, “We were doing our old school raffle. It was our first one, and Snoop saw the car. He wanted to buy it, but we had to tell the people at the store that are buying the raffle ticket, we just got to let them know that you want to buy the car. Whoever win the raffle, won’t get the car. It’d be unfair just to sell you the car, Snoop.”
So I went and actually participated in that first raffle. Before that, I went and met the twins in person, just by talking to them on the phone for maybe an hour. And I just got great energy.
They’re twins. They’re 50 years old. They got their own business. They love their mother, you know what I’m saying? Just principles like this, and they got 200 shares apiece and hot tubs.
So they’re like, “of course, we’ll invest in you.” They said, “This is what we’re going to do for you. Not only do we got Snoop following us, but we a part of Curren$y’s car club.” I said what? Straight-up – Curren$y. You know what I’m saying? I’m like, “oh word.”
The twins said what they would be able to do as my investors at this company is get Curren$y to promote our merch.
And he’s best friends with Wiz Khalifa. They said “We’ll get them to send some stuff to Wiz. And we could send some stuff to Snoop and have him do a video of your merch.” And this was a very early on phase of the company when I started doing team building.
C&T Today: When did you come up with the concept for the app, and when did you actually start building it?
AM: I would say April of 2020.
When the pandemic hit. When everybody got locked down? Right after that, I was dealing with a lot of stuff at home, you know what I’m saying? Marital issues, newlywed. New baby. Wife not treating me good, not appreciating me. Working deadbeat jobs and still doing other stuff. But it was like, there was a calling for my life to be something greater bro. That wasn’t it. You know what I’m saying?
So I left Georgia with 100 bucks to my name, a car that didn’t even have insurance on it, and I drove all the way to Colorado. Not knowing what would happen.
I did some tree work, and I’m out in Colorado. Me being a weed connoisseur, I’m a kid in candy land. It’s my first time in a legal state, bro. So I’m having the time of my life there. I’m working. I’m living in the car at this time.
One time, somebody I was working with, ended up allowing me to take a shower at his house, that he was just couch surfing on. We did a bud swap. I been doing bud swaps. You know what I’m saying? I’m showering, and I thought of the commercial back in the day where there’s an app for that. There’s an app for that.
And I’m like, something just stuck with me real hard. You know how you feel things heavy in your heart?
And that’s what happened, bro. I felt heavy in my heart and I’m like, yo – this is what I’m supposed to do.
Nobody was doing it. I called the app company, they’re located in Atlanta, Georgia. They made apps for AT&T and Hilton. Five hundred dollars down, boom.
They copped my car and I used my whole check in that week, got the business license. We’re legal, with the binders and everything, 700 bucks. Whole check that I’m sacrificing lunch and all kinds of things, working at a tree service job.
That’s basically how it all got started.
C&T Today: Well, it’s a great concept. Will all of this be legal? Because if you’re doing a bud swap, I don’t know the full legality of it.
We got consultations with some attorneys before we put this shit together. By law, where cannabis is recreationally legal, I can give up to an ounce.
It’s federally legal in the country of Canada. Our app’s going to get to the App Store marketplace. This is an international company.
Anywhere where hemp or CBD is legal, you’ll be able to access this app, if there’s App Store there.
And that’s the industrial side, that’s India, that’s anywhere where the App Store marketplace is accessible, bro.
C&T Today: So, I know you can swap bud, but I guess the idea is legally, what you’re doing is you’re gifting that marijuana to somebody else and then they’re gifting theirs to you?
AM: They’re going super stupid hard on all of that. As far as, by law, yes. That’s the legal term. But we like to use the term barter, because it’s all about how you word certain things to protect you at times, too.
C&T Today: You said you can swap bud for other strains or other services? What would those services include? You give somebody an eighth and they clean your apartment or something?
Exactly. It’s just whoever does whatever service within that community. They will be listing their service, they’ll be on Budswap.
These people know that they’re weed-friendly, and the conversation will grow afterward, you know what I’m saying? The connection. Anything they do offline, is on them.
It’s not limited to flower, so the oils, edible scenes, plant form, black hash. Anything cannabis or CBD-related. And then, Facebook has a marketplace, Budswap has a marketplace where people within your community, can list these items. But in exchange for the bud.
I would say, just from my own point of view. I would be careful. Make sure you have a good attorney to make sure that everything is above board. Because what if somebody decides to swap more than an ounce?
All right so, disclaimers. That’s going to be legal. Before you sign on and get your account, people will agree, and we will take the liability away from us. We will also give prompts and safe ways to do these swaps.
We’re going to be even implementing digital trading posts, where you can go to a special parking lot. They mess with Budswap, or you know what I’m saying? This area or this location, they’re down with the app.
It might be a smoke shop or whatever the case may be, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, our company bud swaps in our parking lot. It would make people more comfortable.
Everybody needs an ID. The same way in order to get a sale on IG bro. They upload their IDs freely. We need their ID, and we’re going to do a photo verification as well, which basically will put the facial recognition folks.
I know I tell you, hold up three fingers or two fingers, like some of these apps we’ve got today. And we’re going to match that picture, that selfie that they take with the uploaded photo ID.
And there will be email verifications and each person that swaps, has the ability of rating each swap on a five star rate system, with a comment.
So it’s like people have the ability to report their swaps too. If there’s some bull crap going on. You know what I’m saying? Somebody be doing me dirty.
You report it, and we’re going to start banning people off the app. You know what I’m saying. We can’t onboard crap, as quick as possible.
It’s going to be a lot of stuff that can potentially go on. We’re doing as many measures to keep it as safe as possible. And we’re doing everything to keep it legal.
By law, even if they say, “All right. You guys can’t do this with weed.” We can do it with CBD. So that’s what.
We got our foot in the door for Budswap CBD. And then when we get better, we’re allowed. We’re good. All of this is better, legal in Canada. So we’re going to continue to keep building. Just like we been building.
C&T Today: Sounds like you’ve thought everything through. And you’re in a good place with it. You just have this last round of investment, and then you can go live, right?
AM: Yes sir. There’s beta testing. Then, once we get through that, there ain’t no looking back. As far as marketing is concerned, we got access to a lot of celebrities that, they starting to use the app.
Any person that you see, that get a cameo and it’s like, “oh. Budswap, that’s a great idea.” They going to go download this app.