This Chicago startup is puffing up efforts to normalize marijuana

By February 9, 2018

Following California’s legalization of recreational marijuana, 2018’s buzz around bud continues. At least 12 states are poised to consider marijuana bills and ballot measures, as more legislative sessions take place throughout the country.

The Midwest is too turning over a new leaf in regards to legalization talks. Thanks to efforts from State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and State Sen. Heather Steans, last month the Illinois state government began hearings to determine whether the state should legalize marijuana.

With the weed industry at an all time high, we have seen a wave of startups and platforms seizing the opportunity to help blaze the marijuana market across the United States. One such platform includes Chicago’s very own, Kannatopia, a “Facebook for the cannabis ecosystem”.

The social media platform has become a community for cannabis enthusiasts and patients 21+ to share their favorite brands, products and strains, and connect with other users. Kannatopia has now also launched a new platform dedicated to businesses operating in the marijuana industry, allowing them to engage with their target audience. Where as social media giants such as Instagram, Facebook and Google, have always taken a strong stance against cannabis content, resulting in adverts and pages being shut down, Kannatopia helps companies create an online presence and interact within a community that openly express an interest in cannabis.

“Many cannabis companies struggle to have a presence on social media as they often have their social media pages shut down. This means they miss out on driving traffic from these accounts and more business,” said Kurt Akers, CEO and Co-Founder of Kannatopia. “We hope to strengthen the community by providing a fair and safe environment for prosperous interactions.” 

Despite the growing legalization of medical and recreational weed, the industry remains close knit, perhaps due to the outside societal prejudice. From criminals to lazy pot-heads, negative stigmas surround cannabis users, which, in turn, drive biased misconceptions towards companies and businesses in the weed industry. Startups such as Kannatopia, are striving to change perceptions and stereotypes that have long stigmatized this group.

By providing a safe and friendly environment, the platform encourages others to break out of the “cannabis closet” and become “ambassadors”, so to speak, for the cannabis community.