It’s a known fact among weed business owners that one piece of software has completely transformed the pot industry. Founded by Jessica Billingsley and Amy Poinsett, MJ Freeway is a software system designed specifically for the flourishing legal cannabis industry. The software, and the team of consultants at MJ Freeway, tracks and manages every aspect of a cannabis business. They help business owners optimize grows, maximize sales and meet the requirements of their state’s marijuana laws.
They also collect and track the data from these businesses, which demonstrates to lawmakers that yes, cannabis is a legitimate business. And that lawmakers need to start treating it as such.
We caught up with co-founder and chief operating officer Jessica Billingsley and vice president of global marketing and communications Jeannette Ward to gain more insight into their groundbreaking company and learn more about how their software has completely transformed the pot industry.
MJ Freeway is an all-encompassing system for legal cannabis businesses. Their software revolves around a “seed-to-sale” model. It’s a model that the company’s founders, Jessica Billingsley and Amy Poinsett invented. And it’s a model that has been proven to work.
“[Jessica and Amy] pioneer[ed] batch-tracking and algorithms that account for moisture loss as the product ages,” Ward explained. “[These are] standards that many governments and competing seed-to-sales companies have copied.”
The software has completely transformed the pot industry by streamlining and organizing literally everything for cannabis business owners.
From when the seeds are planted all the way through the sale of mature plants, flowers and extracts. Additionally, they track business owners’ progress and make sure that their clients stay perfectly within the guidelines and regulations of their state. They even customize and tailor each experience to a client’s individual needs.
“The core of what makes MJ Freeway who we are is two things,” Poinsett said. “First, people—the entire team really cares about our industry and our clients. And I know our clients can feel that. Second is innovation. Seed-to-sale tracking, batch tracking, big data for cannabis—these are innovations we led. MJ Platform is the next groundbreaking innovation in cannabis tech.”
The software is available in English, Spanish and French. In 2018, a German-language version will be available.
From The Ground Up
As soon as Colorado lawmakers implemented the state’s medical marijuana program, Jessica Billingsley saw a need. She invested in one of the first licensed medical businesses. And that’s when she seized the opportunity of a lifetime.
“They needed software to run the company,” Billingsley told us. “I approached Amy [Poinsett] about partnering and building a solution for cannabis companies. Thankfully, she said yes!”
Together, Billingsley and Poinsett created the first-ever seed-to-sale software designed specifically for cannabis businesses. Literally the first.
Thanks to their collective background in software development and technology, they were able to pioneer a system that not only assisted cannabis business owners to manage their companies in a reliable way but also track every part of their business from the ground up.
The first for-retail product from MJ Freeway, released almost eight years ago, was called GramTracker.
“MixTracker and GrowTracker followed for extraction and cultivation,” Ward said.
Although they’ve had a steady upward trajectory—their business has grown in tandem with the cannabis industry as a whole—Billingsley recalls a few naysayers during MJ Freeway’s beginning years. She told us about a Lobby Days meeting she went to when the company had a presence in 13 states with a medical marijuana program.
“[The committee we met with] truly laughed us out of the room,” she said. “One [person] laughed us out of the room and told us to come back after [we were in] 30 states. And I have to tell you, just this past spring during Lobby Days, I met with the same leader. I said ‘Do you remember meeting with me? I’m in 29 states now.’”
“We’ve tracked 23 million pounds of cannabis sold since 2011,” Ward added.
All of the data, she explained, helps lawmakers make smart decisions on regulations that give people access to their medicine in a safe and reliable way. It also provides significant data to project the future trends in the cannabis space.
In Recent News
Although MJ Freeway’s software has completely transformed the industry, it is not totally flawless. Like most software systems, MJ Freeway has had a few system interruptions. Ward acknowledged the severity of these issues but wanted to give clarification on the matter beyond the sensationalist headlines.
“In November 2016, we launched our Generation Two software, MJ Platform, at the Vegas MJ BizCon Show. We launched it because we knew we had to replace our tracker product,” she said. “It was the first seed-to-sale. We had improved on it many times since the launch, but it was aging. The recently reported issues are a direct reflection of the age of this product. Our work with successful cannabis businesses had shown us that they needed a software built for the future of cannabis. Not the past.”
“We achieved two things with MJ Platform,” she continued. “We upgraded the core technology of the product for increased reliability and speed, and improved on an already feature-rich and flexible software.”
MJ Freeway transformed the cannabis industry because Billingsley, Poinsett and Ward truly, genuinely believe in sensible and compassionate cannabis policy. Especially when it comes to medical marijuana.
“It’s medicine,” Ward said. “And people should have access to that medicine.”
“I am absolutely a medical marijuana advocate and activist,” Billingsley added. “You only have to meet one patient whose life has been irrevocably changed to really see the difference it makes.”
They work extensively with disability rights activist Stacey Linn. Her son, Jack, suffered from severe cerebral palsy and dystonia. Cannabis proved to be a life-altering medicine for him. Linn and her supporters worked tirelessly to push forward a bill that would allow juvenile medical marijuana patients to have access to their medication at school.
Their efforts were well worth it. In 2015, the governor of Colorado signed Jack’s Law, which gives medical marijuana patients the right to bring their medical marijuana to school with them. Essentially, Jack’s Law makes it so they do not have to choose between their education and their health.
Although Jack sadly passed away, Stacey Linn and MJ Freeway have continued their activism through the organization CannAbility. Recently, MJ Freeway started a donation campaign alongside the organization. After making a significant initial donation, MJ Freeway is now using its resources to educate others on the issues that CannAbility champions, as well as encourage donations so that CannAbility can continue its work.
Additionally, Poinsett and Billingsley act as mentors for women in both the cannabis industry and STEM fields.
“It’s very important to Amy and me to mentor women and hire women,” Billingsley said enthusiastically. “It’s very important to me to mentor women in STEM fields. [The problem is that] we don’t teach young women that technology is one of the most creative fields there is.”
“We see ourselves on a mission to serve cannabis businesses and grow an industry sustainably and responsibly,” Poinsett added. “If we can do that while also being an example that two women can run an industry-leading technology company–well, that’s icing on the cake!”
Looking Forward: One Piece Of Software Has Completely Transformed The Pot Industry
MJ Freeway has come a long way since being laughed out of a Lobby Days meeting.
They have worked with clients in 29 states and also five countries. Although other tech companies have developed similar software, MJ Freeway remains the uncontested top player. They pioneered the system. And so, it’s unsurprising that 40 percent of United States-based cannabis companies choose to work with them.
They revolutionized the way that cannabis business owners managed their companies. But that’s not the only way that the software has completely transformed the cannabis industry. The data they collect, combined with their focus on ensuring that their clients are in accordance with cannabis laws, has broader implications. Specifically about the spreading legalization in the United States and in other countries.
“I do not think it’s a stretch at all to think that MJ Freeway has influenced legislation worldwide,” Billingsley said. “It’s the compliance tools that give legislators the confidence that the product can be safely regulated and tracked.”
Her software has completely transformed the cannabis industry, and the changes keep on coming. We then asked her where she thinks the cannabis industry is going. Does she predict a lift of the federal ban on weed any time in the near future?
“I think before the federal law changes here in the United States, we’ll see other countries beating us to the punch,” she answered. “Like Canada, which is blazing the trail in this area. We’ll see other countries legalizing adult use and starting to have systems for regulation, legalization, import and export at the national and international level.”
“That’s part of why we’re looking globally,” she added.
Furthermore, Billingsley predicts that the next few states to legalize cannabis will be in the Northeast. As for the next big states?
“I think it’s very likely that [it] will be Florida or Illinois,” she said. “I think Florida’s a sleeper. Definitely look out for Florida in 2018.”