On Sunday, Leafly—a “Yelp for weed” that lets marijuana users compare and review different strains of cannabis, as well as locate doctors and dispensaries—will become the first cannabis company to run an ad in the New York Times, the site announced in a press release Saturday. The announcement comes less than a month after New York became the 23rd state to legalize medical cannabis, and just days after the Times published an editorial documenting, and subtly applauding, the American public’s growing acceptance of marijuana. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in 2013 found that for the first time, a majority of the American public was in favor of legalizing marijuana. That number inched up to 54 percent in early 2014.
Tomorrow readers of the Sunday New York Times will have an added distraction to the crossword puzzle: a paid advertisement for marijuana. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. On July 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law New York’s Compassionate Care Act, making the use of medicinal marijuana legal. Conditions qualifying for legal purchase and use of marijuana include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tissue damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s Disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s Disease). The advertiser getting all the buzz (so sorry) is Leafly, but it isn’t actually marijuana at all. The company is described as a “Yelp” of marijuana, offering an exchange of information in the surprisingly complicated world of selection and ingestion. Leafly’s website describes the company as “the world’s largest cannabis information community,” inviting visitors to “discover, connect and share.” There is a Leafly app available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices, as well. Through the website or app, potential users can search dispensaries by entering their zip code. A variety of licensed outlets appear, with distance, “$” to indicate price, user reviews, and home delivery options. Further details include information like does the dispensary offer a veteran’s discount or accept credit cards. Imagine a restaurant review format that replaces sushi and pizza with marijuana brownies and vaporizers.