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Trees CEO Marshall Hayner: “Cannabis will be a bigger industry than big tobacco… And It needs Bitcoin”

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM
Justin OConnell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM

The San Francisco-based dispensary, Trees, wants to hook you up with a cannabis kit, so all of your smoking needs are taken care of in one place. The company acknowledges that – with technology like vaporizers, dabs, and so on, cannabis has become pretty complex (especially after a dome straight to the head). So for that reason, Trees stocks the latest tech and glassware for your blazing pleasure and packages it in a convenient form.

Medicinal use of cannabis in California has been legal since 1996. While in Colorado and Washington cannabis is recreational, in California, the legalization of recreational is on the ballot for next year. The medical industry have allowed a booming medical marijuana industry to grow.

Trees unique product is “the original craft cannabis box.” The company offers a beginner model for $99 and two boxes for $149, each containing flower, extracts, and accessories. CEO of Trees, Marshall Hayner, garnered much press for his idea about delivering the craft cannabis box via drones.


The idea of delivery by drones, popularized by Amazon, has come across some issues in the US with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA and Verizon citing safety concerns. But, in the near future, your Trainwreck or dabs might be delivered by drone – at least that’s what Hayner envisages.

To be sure, the idea is pretty far out there. Not only are there the myriad safety issues associated with drones, but the practicality of the situation seems unlikely. I can’t imagine a drone flying up to Dave Chappelle and his friend’s apartment in Half Baked. Maybe a self-driving weed delivery car would work better – with human onboard to deliver the paraphernalia.

At CoinCongress 2015 in San Francisco, Hayner spoke to an early morning crowd regarding his company, medical marijuana and its relation to Bitcoin.

“Gavin Andresen said a couple of years ago that the legal marijuana industry is going to be possibly the biggest industries for Bitcoin,” Hayner began.

“The biggest problem for the cannabis industry is it has no banking partners,” he explained.

The industry is about $2.5 billion dollars, and there is not a single banking partner in sight.

That means hundreds of millions of dollars sit in warehouses, Hayner remarked. His vision for the cannabis industry – both recreationally and medically – is optimistic.

“I do believe cannabis will be a bigger industry than big tobacco,” he told the crowd at Hilton Union Plaza.

Big tobacco is about $35 billion per year. It’s looking like cannabis will be $10 billion by early next year.

“I can’t think of a single industry in the US that is soon to be in the double-digit billions without banking partners,” Hayner noted. Hayner pointed out the myriad benefits of cannabis in relation to tobacco.

“Cannabis has no known deaths,” he said. “There is about six million per year with tobacco. You can see cannabis has real therapeutic and real medical value. There is going to be a huge industry. There is no real way to run these businesses without bank accounts.” That’s where Bitcoin comes into the picture. Hayner has a cautious view of the cannabis industry, and Bitcoin industry could interact. He does believe that the cannabis industry, in many ways, needs Bitcoin…it just doesn’t know it.

“Bitcoin is just a technology, but in its early phase, it is still too nascent to ask for the cannabis industry to adopt,” the Trees CEO said.

It is an industry that came from the black market, went to the gray market, and is now becoming a white market. To ask these people in this industry to change and use a technology that is so new and so scary is just too much.

Therefore, in Hayner’s mind, there remain huge opportunities for people to build technology platforms that allow people to bank with Bitcoin. Hayner does not believe Bitcoin needs to be on the front-end of a platform. Instead, he thinks Bitcoin should be in the backend so that people might not even know they are using something like Bitcoin.

“I see it as the clearing house of the internet,” the cannabis-tech entrepreneur said. Bitcoin can solve more than cash problems, he went on.

“There is so much that can be done with the block chain in terms of categorizing cannabis and proving that it came from the original factory where it was made and sign all this with a private key and embed it in the block chain using tokenization,” Hayner told the crowd.

“They have no way to prove the authenticity of their cannabis besides centralized websites,” he said. “This is where Bitcoin can shine.”

A member in the audience, after Hayner’s speech, asked about California’s recent election on marijuana.

“California is the largest agricultural state, it grows more cannabis than any other state,” he answered.

We have such a large growing community they don’t want recreational marijuana. If we go recreational, all it means for a lot of these guys is they get paid less. They have to be better at their jobs; they have to be more specialized.

He said that interests in Humboldt County and Marin rally against the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in California. Calling to mind local issues, Hayner then elaborated on a story of an Oakland dispensary, the largest in the world.

“In 2012, the DEA, DoJ, IRS came to Harborside Healthcare, here in Oakland, and when they came to raid them the mayor, the firefighters and police banned together and called Harborside and said ‘you’re our number one tax payer here in the city of Oakland, you provide a lot of stuff, we just called to let you know this is happening tomorrow and how can we help you?” The crowd enjoyed that anecdote and cheered.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can use Trees. First, you need a medical recommendation in California. All you need to do is a short evaluation with a doctor. This process can be as low as $40 in some places.

Trees offers same day delivery and you can order on your iPhone or laptop at www.trees.delivery. The company accepts cash, credit card, online bank transfers and Bitcoin.

Featured image from Shutterstock.