Trees: Bitcoin-Powered Drone Delivers Cannabis to Your Doorstep
Cointelegraph chatted with Marshall Hayner, the co-founder of Trees, a unique “cannabis delivery startup app” that accepts bitcoin and also hopes to employ drones in the future.
The team is lead by founders Marshall Hayner and Mikko Ohtamaa with an intense desire to shake up the cannabis industry. Just as Ohtamaa shook up the Bitcoin scene with localbitcoins, Trees aims to disrupt the cannabis environment via decentralization.
Taking the legal cannabis system and making it more Uber-esque for the mainstream, the project is creating a new way of doing business. The team looks forward to creating waves with its delivery service and use of p2p methods of commerce like bitcoin. Currently, bitcoin users can get a discount for their cannabis orders by using the digital currency.
“The industry as a whole has been stagnated by lack of innovation and greed. Bitcoin is a light in a dark tunnel for the cannabis industry.”
- Marshall Hayner
Cointelegraph: What is Trees?
Marshall Hayner: We are a cannabis delivery startup app based out of San Francisco, CA. We are a for profit limited liability corporation in California that partners with select cannabis collectives and charges for the services of lead generation, marketing, branding, quality curation, and all around customer service.
We believe that through this app we can crowd source the best cannabis, versus funneling the best growers through an arduous painful process at a dispensary whose goal is to give them as little money as possible.
CT: Who concocted this idea and why?
MH: I concocted this idea four years ago and pitched it to one of our main competitors. I took a look at the cannabis industry and said... "We can do a lot better." How is it in this day and age with the technology and social media tools we have that it's still a crap shoot to get some marijuana that looks like it just landed off the moon (alien weed)? Apparently pretty hard. We're solving this problem.
“I do believe in 5-10 years banks will come around to legal cannabis, but by that time bitcoin or another form of digital currency will most likely be the new de-facto US dollar.”
CT: Can you give readers a step by step if they called in for an order?
MH: First step you would come on to trees.delivery and see our big SMS number. Then you text "TREES" to our phone number and a live operator pops on and walks you through everything. If you're more of a web guy, our html5 app is a seamless experience. We have live chat along the entire way and frequently pop in if we see any customers are having any trouble. We like to make things convenient so we're all about texting and using infrastructure that already works and is proven. Also, we have online payments, something our competitors don't.
CT: How do you incorporate Bitcoin into Trees?
MH: Anything you want to buy with bitcoin on the site, you can, with a 40% discount when you use code "Cointelegraph." Our merchant processor also uses bitcoin on the back end rails to make it possible to process payments for us. Our drivers also take tips in bitcoin!
“The model that Trees is building is for complete decentralization and disruption of the cost-heavy, high-overhead current dispensary model.”
CT: What can cryptocurrency do for the cannabis ecosystem in general?
MH: So many things. I don't even know where to start with this question! The industry as a whole has been stagnated by lack of innovation and greed. Bitcoin is a light in a dark tunnel for the cannabis industry. The message is "now you can be your own bank.” To the thousands of dispensary operators that have been utterly destroyed by banking and merchant processing partners, this is a new era of opportunity. I do believe in 5-10 years banks will come around to legal cannabis, but by that time bitcoin or another form of digital currency will most likely be the new de-facto US dollar.
CT: Do you think the cannabis industry is somewhat centralized currently?
MH: It depends on what state we are talking about but here in California things are very unorganized and loose. The model that Trees is building is for complete decentralization and disruption of the cost-heavy, high-overhead current dispensary model.
CT: Would you say that businesses such as yours can create an “Uber affect” to the cannabis industry?
MH: Absolutely. We believe that through this app we can crowdsource the best cannabis, versus funneling the best growers through an arduous painful process at a dispensary whose goal is to give them as little money as possible.
“We are currently working on drone logistics and as soon as the FAA passes the appropriate legislation we will have fleets in every state.”
CT: Can you talk about the drone delivery service?
MH: The drone video was really just a viral thing we slapped together for a few hundred bucks and shot in Golden Gate Park. We are currently working on drone logistics and as soon as the FAA passes the appropriate legislation we will have fleets in every state.
CT: Do you have any desire to expand to other legalized states?
MH: Oh yes, ohhhhh yes.
CT: What's the overall goal and mission at Trees?
MH: To give the consumer the absolute best and most quality cannabis experience known to man. Our goal at Trees is to change public perception on legal cannabis while providing a dream-like experience. We are deeply in love with cannabis at Trees and we want to share our passion with you.