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Former OrderUp CEO brings new cannabis information service to Baltimore

Former OrderUp CEO brings new cannabis information service to Baltimore
Chris Jeffery, far right, the former CEO of OrderUp, is now CEO of Leafly, a medical marijuana information service that opened an East Coast office in Baltimore's Little Italy. He's shown in this 2014 file photo with Jason Kwicien, then OrderUp's chief operating officer. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

The entrepreneur who helped launch OrderUp, the Baltimore-based food delivery service, now is trying to help people in the city and beyond find medical marijuana.

Chris Jeffery, co-founder and former CEO of OrderUp, which was sold to Groupon in 2015, now heads Leafly. That company, based in Seattle, opened its first East Coast office in the Holland Tack Factory at 1300 Bank Street in Little Italy.

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The company provides information on both the industry generally and different kinds of cannabis, and also helps consumers identify products and where to get them. Jeffery said the referrals to specific dispensaries are the prime revenue generator for the eight-year-old private firm, though it will be adding more services.

The company, with four offices in the United States and internationally, also now allows consumers to reserve products they find through the site at the dispensaries. Leafly is not legally allowed to sell cannabis products directly.

Jeffery said Leafly appeals to consumers who want to sit at home or use their phone remotely to search products available to them across dispensaries. The concept, he said, is not too different from filling food cravings through OrderUp, allowing him to translate what he learned running that operation.

He said he was sold on the idea of leading the cannabis company after meeting a cancer sufferer.

“This is more than getting pepperoni to a consumer,” he said. “This can be life changing for consumers.”

Jeffery said the Baltimore office likely will hire more people, and he expects Leafly to open more offices around the country and globe to serve specific markets. The company says its sites attract 13 million monthly visitors and 40 million page views.

Consumers in Maryland can buy medical cannabis for specific maladies after getting a recommendation from a registered doctor. Dispensaries began opening around the state at the end of 2017 and dozens are now operating, with 102 eventually slated to offer a range of products.

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