By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

The Bend entrepreneur that started a website for all things marijuana added what he said is a first for the business: an online trading desk.

Kelly Martin, founder of CannaFo.com, said his Trade Desk allows marijuana growers, processors, wholesalers and retailers to connect with one another. All subscribers doing business directly in marijuana must be licensed in the states where they buy and sell medical or recreational marijuana, they must be in states where marijuana is legal, and only transactions within state lines are allowed, he said. Ancillary businesses, from contractors to label makers to lawyers, may also list their services on the site.

“We’ve created quite an animal, frankly,” Martin said Wednesday of CannaFo. “We’re attempting to be the Google, Amazon and Facebook of cannabis. We’re trying to create the largest active database of all cannabis information for consumers, growers and businesses.”

In addition to the Trade Desk, CannaFo also launched a preorder service that allows consumers to place online orders with marijuana dispensaries for pickup later. The preorder service works like most online business models, but customers must present identification, and a medical marijuana card if required, when picking up their orders.

Both the Trade Desk and preorder service operate on software that prohibits trading across state lines or purchasing marijuana products in quantities prohibited by state law, said Josh Pardee, CannaFo lead engineer. The Trade Desk works as a subscription service, Martin said, because his company cannot legally collect a commission on the sales it facilitates.

“I see a need to bring buyers and sellers of cannabis as a commodity together to make connections,” he said. “Right now, it’s very difficult to connect growers, producers and retailers together because it’s all old-school.”

The Trade Desk has nearly 50 subscribers, most in the Portland area but some elsewhere in Oregon and in Colorado and Washington, he said. The service is available for $300 a month in every state where marijuana is legal for either medical or adult recreational use, he said. Until Martin builds a subscriber base that makes the desk worthwhile, the service is free for up to 90 days for new users, he said.

The Trade Desk is not a commodity futures trading site nor does it display information on real-time trades. The site permits photographs and lab reports, Martin said. Existing federal banking regulations do not eliminate all liability for business transactions related to marijuana, so agreements may be made online, but the financial transactions take place off-line, said Josh Broady, director of business development.

“Imagine (a) grocery store goes online and can see all the vegetable and fruit producers in that state,” he said. “They can pick and choose what they want, they can see the quality of the product across the board.”

CannaFo rolled out its preorder service with about 25 marijuana dispensaries in the Portland area, Pardee said. Just one dispensary in Bend, Top Shelf Medicine, is tied into the system.

“We just started,” said Cash Smith, the dispensary manager, Wednesday. “We have had customers ask about preordering so that’s why we talked to CannaFo.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

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