The Clubhouse audio chat app is turning into a new hub for cannabis influencers.
“It’s like an interactive podcast,” said Tiffany Griffin, a chemical engineer and Illinois craft grow license applicant. “It’s opened the door to a bunch of cannabis people. I was actually able to see the value.”
A hybrid of Twitter and podcasting infused with virtual conversational salons focused on topics ranging from Morning Sound Bath, to Family Business Coaching Q&A, to Daily Wisdom from African Proverbs, Clubhouse is a social and emotional antidote for intellects, extraverts and others jonesing to convene with like-minded people during these plague-infected times.
It’s also transforming the cannabis industry in real-time. Here are five reasons why.
1. Personalized pot recommendations
Gina Gault, a community outreach specialist with Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, hosts a weekly “Cannabis and Coffee” Clubhouse chat where members ask questions and share experiences specific to the impact the plant in its many varieties and form factors has on them.
While joining last week to ask about THC topicals that could soothe pain associated with my arthritis, I heard Gina use the term “bio-individuality” in a conversation that included newbies and 30-year veterans of the plant alike.
What was thoughtfully and patiently shared in the hour or so Clubhouse chat was that while everybody’s body and mind reacts differently to cannabis, personal discovery is enhanced by recommendations from friends and people that you trust. Put another way, the right reefer referral could help you more quickly determine which bud is for you.
While cannabis companies increasingly invest in consumer education programs, word of mouth advice is best shared within trusted communities. I’ll report back to the group on how my hips feel after transdermal topical treatment and experimentation.
2. Higher form of hierarchy
Clubhouse levels the playing field between celebrities, subject matter experts, lurkers and others interested in joining the conversation.
“I joined Clubhouse about a month ago and for the first few days I was addicted,” Gault told me in an interview a couple days later. A self-described “cannabis maven” and board director of Illinois Women in Cannabis, Gault got into some heady Clubhouse conversations early and often.
“You can be in a room with Killer Mike or Lupe Fiasco, hold space with higher clout individuals, get a piece of their mind and share a piece of yours,” she said.
This (at least for now) egalitarian atmosphere not only vibes with the peace of love ethos often associated with the plant, but also serves as an incredibly useful forum to ask anybody about anything related to a federally illegal substance that is defined more by its stigma than its scientific properties.
There is a lot of mushroom talk to boot.
“The app is tailored for people asking the questions,” Gault explained. “It’s about teaching people where they are by speaking at their level.”
3. Information immersion
For many, long-form audio podcasts are the most efficient and inviting way to learn about new and complicated subjects. With Clubhouse, the intimacy of words spoken into your earbuds by subject matter experts is combined with a grid of profile pictures of others listening in at the same time as you.
The sage reporting and analysis of a Malcom Gladwell and mercurial market-making cameos of an Elon Musk arise in your feed spontaneously, attracting you and legions of others to listen in and perhaps become part of the conversation.
Clubhouse is also the first digital application to obtain societal critical mass since weed became legally legit in most states. As a learning and communication platform, it is already a pillar of cannabis 2.0 or whatever era definition the industry currently anoints upon itself.
“It kind of immerses you if you choose to immerse it,” said cannabis license applicant Griffin, who invited me to join the club. Griffin, part of a group applying for a craft grow license in Illinois, is drawn to Clubhouse even though, “she is not a big social media person.”
4. VC darling
Beyond product recommendations and zeitgeist zeale, Clubhouse is a place where investors and cannabis industry pioneers now share ideas, contacts and best practices.
For whatever it’s worth, the most notable Clubhouse investors were raised and/or came of professional age in the Midwest. Last May, the company raised a $10 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Before revolutionizing venture investing and serving on Facebook’s board, partner Marc Andreessen was central to the creation of the Mosaic browser at the University of Illinois that became the gateway drug for the Internet.
His partner Stephen Chen, a graduate of the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, also sits on the Clubhouse board of directors. Previously Chen co-founded YouTube, which was sold to Google in 2006.
5. Greater potential for true equity and inclusion
“Clubhouse is definitely going to change the industry,” said Marne Madison, National Executive Director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana. “MSOs won’t be able to hide what they are doing to the industry. Everybody now has this platform to talk about what is really going on. I’ve been listening to a few rooms about what’s going on. The culture in the community is coming full force now.”