the Ipot app - cool with Apple

By Terrapinzflyer · Sep 14, 2009 · Updated Sep 14, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    The iPot App: Cool With Apple

    The App Store is always a bit of a crap shoot. Apple decides to reject or accept applications based on a variety of metrics that developers and customers aren't privy to. That's why, when NexStudios launched their iPot application for locating medical marijuana dispensaries, they had no idea if it would meet with acceptance. Steve Jobs is a famous supporter of LSD, but would Apple be willing to give even tacit support to still-controversial medical marijuana laws?
    According to the Digits Wall Street Journal blog, the answer was yes. The iPot app was approved, and it's been available for free download in the App Store since July. This basic download provides info on the location and operating hours of medical marijuana dispensaries in California. For $2 more, you can see reviews and ratings for various dispensaries.
    Since its launch, iPot has had over 100,000 downloads. That's roughly 1/3rd of the total number of people prescribed medicinal marijuana in California. Considering the uncertain nature of the medi-pot industry, the iPot app represents one of the only ways for a dispensary to advertise itself on anything but a local level.
    Over the last few weeks, NexStudios has been working to expand their application into other states with medical marijuana laws. As the app continues to grow in popularity, it becomes more and more likely that NexStudios will have to deal with a legal hassle of some sort. Marijuana of all types is still illegal at the federal level, and dispensaries are raided off-and-on by the DEA. It will be interesting to see where Apple stands, when and if this app is challenged by the government.

    Posted on Mon, 14 Sep 2009 11:43:14 CDT | by Robert Evans

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    App Watch: Finding Pot With the iPhone

    Medical marijuana, meet location-based mobile marketing.

    NexStudios’s iPot application shows iPhone users where the nearest medical-marijuana dispensary is located.
    Seeing an untapped opportunity in the growing number of legal California dispensaries and limited advertising outlets, app developer NexStudios launched iPot, an application for Apple’s iPhone that lists nearby stores.

    “This industry is the wild, wild West of establishments,” said Chris Seta, a NexStudios co-founder and one of iPot’s lead developers. “Dispensaries are opening daily, and there’s very little way to find them.”

    The free version of the app provides basic location information for nearby stores, while the $2 upgrade adds reviews and ratings and does away with advertising. The two apps have been downloaded nearly 100,000 times since their July launch, with about 80% opting for the free one.

    The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws estimates that some 350,000 Californians have prescriptions for medical marijuana, and their word-of-mouth is essentially iPot’s only marketing, Mr. Seta said.

    A dispensary listing in iPot
    NexStudios, which is funded by venture firm Aedeas Group, is making the lion’s share of its iPot revenue from listing fees. More than 800 dispensaries pay $100 to appear in the app, and the San Francisco firm is now adding stores in other states where medical marijuana use is legal, such as Colorado. Mr. Seta said NexStudios receives four or five calls a day from pot sellers eager — in some cases, nagged by their customers, he said — to sign up.

    The company held its breath after submitting iPot to Apple for approval. “We have had apps launched in the past that have been denied,” he said, including a Chuck Norris joke generator and a Kama Sutra-based app, but to its surprise, iPot made it through. “It was so surprising to us,” he said.

    NexStudios’s 40 other apps, including Yoga Trainer Pro, Learn to Read and Origami Madness, are generally more G-rated. For iPot, it’s working on additional features, such as a referral tool that lets users find doctors who will prescribe marijuana and the ability for reviewers to create profiles, as well as more comprehensive listings that include hours and menus.

    “Everything is just such a gray area within this industry,” Mr. Seta said. “We’re really just looking to provide some clarity.”

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  2. Terrapinzflyer
    from the developers page for the application.

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