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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

In 2014, you could walk into a medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle and pick up a gram of cannabis. Then, you could walk a few blocks and get the same product for half the price.

To Daniel Nelson, founder and CEO of Wikileaf, shopping in the medical marijuana marketplace was frustrating.

“I originally built Wikileaf for myself back in 2014, really to find transparency in a marketplace that was so in the shadows,” said Nelson, who uses medical marijuana to manage lower back pain.

His vision for Wikileaf was a site that emphasizes price transparency and allows marijuana users to easily get their money’s worth.

Two years later, the site has 150,000 monthly users across the U.S., and has expanded to include recreational marijuana dispensaries in states where cannabis has been legalized.

The site is designed for users to browse nearby dispensaries by cost, and directly compare prices. Users can enter how much they want to buy, and see the average prices for dispensaries in their area.

Wikileaf shows prices at dispensaries in your area. Screenshot: wikileaf.com.
Wikileaf shows prices at dispensaries so users can compare prices. Screenshot: wikileaf.com.

They can also look for specific strains, or filter products based on their effect — like pain treatment or anxiety — and compare prices for the strain they want. Each strain has basic information, including its average THC content and normal effects.

Wikileaf founder and CEO Dan Nelson. Photo: Wikileaf.
Wikileaf founder and CEO Dan Nelson. Photo: Wikileaf.

But compared to competitor Leafly, also based in Seattle, Wikileaf offers less specifics on strains and their effects. On the other hand, this makes Wikileaf more straightforward and easy to navigate, a boon for inexperienced marijuana users, said Nelson.

And it is this accessibility that is a high priority for the site.

“We’re really in it for everybody, whether its your first experience with cannabis or your five-hundredth experience with cannabis,” Nelson said. “We’re all in for transparency and educating the consumer on any level. That’s kind of our ultimate goal.”

Wikileaf was acquired by Nesta Holding co. in December of last year, but its staff of seven is still based in Seattle’s WeWork Holyoke Building. The service has expanded to 12 different states, but for legal reasons the site cannot display all dispensaries in all states.

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