If you’re a passionate cannabis consumer, chances are you’ve experienced the thrill and comfort of discovering that a new person in your life enjoys marijuana just as much as you do.
Now imagine being able to pull out your phone and get that magical feeling with the swipe of a finger.
In large part, this was the inspiration behind the creation of Duby, the social network for cannabis consumers. Since the app’s launch last April, co-founders Alec Rochford and Russell Thomas have already succeeded in connecting 85,000 of them.
“Cannabis has just been in the dark for so long and has been perceived as wrong for so long, and it’s just not. It’s so much more than that… I really do believe that it brings people together,” Rochford told Civilized from his Denver roost.
“I really think the reason the app is so great is that people meet each other and make friends and come together. It’s a way to explore cannabis, really.”
The app itself is pretty simple – which Rochford believes is likely part of its appeal. When users download the app on their devices, they can create content, or ‘Dubys’, in the form of photos or videos that they can anonymously pass around to the people near them. They can also choose to share Dubys that get passed on to them from others. Each user has a score that can rise or fall depending on how popular and shareable their content is, a competitive element to the app that’s proven very popular among its users.
“When you look at social networks these days, everything is kind of stale and done, so this was a fun way to share that was unique,” said Rochford. “It also allows people in the cannabis community to meet others with likeminded interests quickly and in a new way.”
This was, in part, what motivated the business partners to create the app in the first place. After Thomas’s son was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome (a form of autism), he and his wife (who happens to be Rochford’s cousin) tried a range of pharmaceutical products to ease their son’s ailments. When they turned to CBD, the positive effects were immediately noticeable.
“It made just a massive difference, like a next-day difference. He could walk, talk, eat – it was just fantastic,” said Rochford.
“That’s when we really sat back and thought to ourselves, ‘there something really magical about cannabis and the cannabis community’, so we wanted to get involved because we were passionate about it.”
This passion has continued to drive the duo, as they strive to distinguish themselves from their social media competitors. Rochford said he and Thomas have made a point of fostering a program that is as “lightweight” as possible.
“We made the app very secure and we kept it very minimal on purpose, so that when you’re creating an account all you’re giving us is our email. We weren’t asking for all this information like other social media apps, which are basically asking for everything about you,” said Rochford.
“We wanted to make it very lightweight and safe and anonymous so you can put as much or as little info about yourself as you want.”
Rochford and Thomas have big plans for the app in coming months, chiefly concerning its monetization (which has taken a backseat in their pursuit of creating a program that best suited the needs and desires of its users.) They are in the midst of establishing strategic partnerships and are looking to begin working with various brands and dispensaries.
“We’ll be launching a platform to work with them and we’re just going to continue making the product better and better,” said Rochford. “We have a lot planned for 2017… I believe we’re in this for the long haul.”
Banner photo: (Jacob Lund/Shuttersock)