Leafwire CEO Peter Vogel describes his website as the “LinkedIn of the cannabis industry.” The website went live in 2018 with roots in Denver, and now has almost 50,000 members.
LinkedIn continues to be the go-to network for most industries, including cannabis, with 810 million members in over 200 countries, but Vogel says it lacks exclusivity.
The size of LinkedIn makes unearthing information difficult for cannabis-related users, according to Cannabis Marketing Association founder Lisa Buffo. One of Colorado's approximately 4,000 Leafwire members, Buffo says a more specific networking site caters to the "unique needs" that cannabis industry professionals have.
“Leafwire, similar to the CMA, has found a niche as far as connecting industry professionals and their various verticals,” she says. “It has the ability to connect them based on their own unique needs and questions, and find events and information relevant to them based on where they are and what they do.”
Buffo and the CMA have had Leafwire profiles for nearly three years now; she believes the website has cultivated industry connections for her and her organization members, whether that be job listings, vendor opportunities, event announcements or industry-relevant news.
“This is not a site where consumers go and talk about how high they got or their favorite kind of weed,” Vogel notes. “Everyone there cares about the cannabis and hemp industries, and is there to collaborate and cooperate around helping all of our businesses become bigger and stronger.”
Leafwire began sprouting in 2017, when a group of investors came to Vogel in hopes of recruiting him to run the project. A veteran of Denver’s tech and startup spaces for twenty years with around 28,000 LinkedIn connections of his own, Vogel liked the idea.
“We’ve kind of become the home for any sort of alternative products that are regulated by the government or are in an uncertain state and are constantly changing,” he says.
According to Vogel, psychedelics have also become a hot topic on the website's newsfeed as his company monitors statewide legalization efforts across the country, including developments in Colorado. However, all job and business listings on Leafwire must be related to regulated substances, giving users like Buffo a sense of ease and acceptance.
Leafwire also has plans for a mobile app and has recently launched a new digital business directory to better connect local cannabis service providers.
“It’s not your average dispensary directory,” Vogel says. “If what you really care about is the cannabis industry, it’s just the easiest place to find all of it concentrated in one place."