Move over Woodstock, marijuana is no longer the exclusive domain the counterculture. It’s moving out of the shadows of the grey market and onto Main Street, with a big assist from the corporate world.
In a sign of the continued mainstreaming of pot sales in the U.S., Seattle-based cannabis-technology company Headset has formed a strategic alliance with Nielsen Holdings, a global data-analytics company that is focused on providing market intelligence for the media, consumer-goods, retail and manufacturing industries.
The goal of the partnership is to develop cannabis-related market intelligence for companies in the consumer packaged-goods industry. Headset was launched by the founders of another cannabis-technology platform, Leafly. Headset is a data-analytics company that, like Leafly, is focused on the legal cannabis industry.
Headset gathers its data from real-time, retail point-of-sale transactions involving cannabis products sold in states where recreational pot is now legal. This past January, Headset successfully raised $12.1 million in funding from a group led by Poseidon Asset Management and AFI Capital Partners.
Headset’s founders ― Cy Scott, Brian Wansolich and Scott Vickers ― left Leafly to launch the company in 2015, some five years after founding Leafly, which was acquired in 2011 by a private equity firm, Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, which also targets the legal-cannabis market.
Today, Leafly boasts an online platform that has 20 million monthly visitors and some 1.3 million crowdsourced cannabis strain, product and dispensary reviews. Leafly earlier this month hired a former Amazon executive as its chief executive officer ― Tim Leslie, who most recently served as vice present of Amazon Prime Video International.
Headset’s deal with Nielsen is further evidence that more and more mainstream business interests are taking note of the emerging legal cannabis industry and it’s potential, as medical and/or recreational cannabis sales are now legal in some two dozen states ― including the entire West Coast ― and our neighbor to the north, Canada. To date, cannabis remains illegal under federal law, although the feds have not interfered to date with legalization efforts at the state level, allowing the states to essentially pilot legalization and regulation efforts.
“The ﬁrst output of the Nielsen and Headset relationship will be ‘The U.S. Cannabis Market Pulse Report,’ an industry report that will provide a thorough overview of the legal recreational-cannabis space,” a press release issued by Nielsen states. “Additionally, Nielsen and Headset will be developing a full suite of capabilities for the Canadian market where cannabis was legalized nationwide in October 2018.”