Managing a supply chain is tough enough when your company trades in conventional commodities, like clothing, cars, or carrots. The challenges take on a whole new dimension when your target market is the uncharted—and increasingly regulated—territory of the legal cannabis business.
Now that pot is legal in nearly 25 states, one company thinks it's high time the industry had its own online marketplace. New York City-based LeafLink Inc. recently rolled out an e-commerce platform that caters exclusively to marijuana retailers and their supply chain partners. The company, which according to press reports describes its product as "Salesforce of bud," says its aim is to cut through the haze surrounding the wholesale marijuana trade.
Modeled on the supply chain systems used in the liquor business, the LeafLink B2B (business-to-business) platform is designed to help weed buyers and sellers exchange information and goods. Suppliers can use the site to track orders, manage product availability and back orders, and promote their products. Dispensaries (which join the platform for free) can go there to order from multiple vendors, review order histories, learn about new products, and—yes—request samples.
In case you haven't wandered into a marijuana dispensary lately, today's retail weed business involves a far wider array of inventory than the classic trio of matches, rolling papers, and a plastic baggie. Customers can buy their pot in a dizzying array of forms, including THC-infused cookies and candy, tinctures, creams, herbal teas, and even bath salts.