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Cannabis App passes 1,000 paid downloads; SoCal developers stoked

July 24, 2009 |  5:54 pm

Cannabis-appL.A.-based software engineers Devin Calloway and Julian Cain are also medical cannabis patients. And they're looking to "harvest change."

Over the last several months, Calloway, 24, and Cain, 32, matched their programming talents to their political passions to put Cannabis up for sale on iTunes. The price? $2.99. 

Cannabis is a geolocation-based iPhone app that allows users to quickly find the nearest medical marijuana dispensary as well as weed-friendly doctors and lawyers, all with a few quick touches.

The app has sold more than 1,000 units, and its founders said they planned to put 50 cents of every purchase -- or 17% of the proceeds -- toward establishing a nonprofit organization dedicated to media outreach for the pro-pot cause.

The idea behind the app is to "use technology to empower the medical cannabis industry and the global hemp movement," Calloway said.

In California and other states, the substance is legal with a doctor’s prescription but remains illegal under federal law.

Calloway is a founding member of ajnag.com -- that's ganja backwards -- which stands for Activists Justifying the Natural Agriculture of Ganja. According to Calloway, the website was the first comprehensive online map of...

... legal cannabis distributors as well as doctors and attorneys in the U.S. when he launched it in 2006.

"There was nothing on the Internet yet that was able to quickly and easily locate the medical cannabis resources," he said.

Then in May, Calloway and co-developer Cain created an API that would share data from their large database directly to Cannabis-enabled iPhones. For Cannabis app users, finding a pot dispensary has never been easier.

In the L.A. area alone, Cannabis lists 200 locations with low-key names like the "Downtown Natural Caregivers," "Bluegate Collectives," and "Heaven on Earth Healing." 

Medical marijuana is currently untaxed, and a bill in the state legislature -- now on hold -- to broadly legalize the substance would also impose a sales tax on its distribution, helping the state and its cities to close a cascade of yawning budget gaps.

Apple has given its endorsement of Cannabis by virtue of approving the app for sale. Calloway said the Cupertino, Calif., company asked that the app be labeled with a warning that its content could be objectionable for children younger than 17.

Corrected 10:36 a.m. : A previous version of this post stated that the Cannabis app was priced at $4.99.  In fact, it's $2.99.

-- David Sarno

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