Lansterdam in Review:

California tech startup tracks popular pot brands in Greater Lansing

Jointly uses product reviews to guide ‘purposeful’ cannabis consumption

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I get a lot of emails about fun happenings in the cannabis world. Most messages from California have been trained to land in my spam filter. But this West Coast tech startup was a bit different: Jointly claims to have discovered the most popular cannabis brands and products in Michigan, based entirely on the personal experiences of thousands of Michigan stoners just like me.  

Obviously, that’s a big claim, so I set up an interview with David Kooi, the co-founder and CEO of the new “cannabis wellness” company to learn all about what his team discovered.  

The LA-based startup formed in 2018  but didn’t launch its flagship app until the early pandemic. And it has since taken Michigan by virtual storm, with now more than 25,000 users statewide. 

Kooi said the company is designed to help consumers “reach their full potential” through more “purposeful cannabis consumption.” Big buzzwords, but it’s actually a pretty neat concept. 

Here’s how it all works: 

Those who download the free Jointly app can browse an expansive library of cannabis products from dozens of retailers across Michigan, including several in Greater Lansing. It’s sort of like having a budtender on your phone. You pick your “primary goal,” like to ease pain, improve sleep, induce sleep or creativity, or simply just relax. From there, you pick whichever type of product you prefer: flower, prerolls, vapes, edibles, drinks, dabs, tinctures and more. 

There’s even a category labeled “intimate products.” (Maybe I’ll save that for a future column.) 

From there, more than 200,000 product reviews from other smokers help to sort them in the order of which other Michigan smokers have found most effective for any given ailment. 

For example: Jointly found most of its Michigan users — about 33% of them — turned to cannabis exclusively to “relax and refresh.” And based on their experiences, they seem to have found the most success with the bud from High Supply, Fluresh and High Life Farms. 

With every new product review entered into the database, the ratings are constantly updated to reflect changing consumer preferences, as well as newly released, top-performing strains. 

So far, about 25% of the state’s reports have been from smokers who bought pot to “relieve everyday stress,” also finding success with products from Cookies and Gage Cannabis Co. Others highlighted bud from Lume and Common Citizen, the retail partner of LIV Cannabis. All of them have some sort of presence in the recreational cannabis market in Greater Lansing. 

Here’s the kicker: Details users provide about their cannabis experiences help make their next sessions even better. A range of about 15 factors (like the size of the dose, the time between doses and the overall mindset and physical setting) can sometimes make or break the high. 

By regularly logging different factors and different products into the app, Jointly is designed to track insights into which experiences work best for individual smokers — and recommend products accordingly. Just like a budtender: Over time, Jointly gets to know what works for you. 

“More and more people are realizing that cannabis isn’t just about getting high. It’s about relaxing, relieving stress, sleeping better, creativity, focus — connection to the moment. There are a lot of really good reasons people use cannabis to make their lives better when they consume purposefully,” Kooi said. “Our app is meant to help people navigate that journey.” 

Personally, edibles on an empty stomach tend to make me feel a bit anxious. And since I haven’t had Jointly to pay attention, it took me quite a while to figure that out on my own. 

In addition to identifying top-performing brands and products, Jointly also sells the data. But of course, that’s how the company turns a profit. Accessing the library of product reviews is totally free. Kooi keeps dinner on his plate by plucking certain trends and pitching those to companies as marketing strategies — ways to tailor their products to meet the realistic industry demands. 

Don’t worry: Kooi promises that all of his consumer data is always passed along anonymously. Besides, I really don’t think Big Brother has any interest in reading about how stoned that hash-infused prerolled joint got you last Saturday. Kooi also mentioned that an in-house team closely monitors product ratings to prevent any outside interests from manipulating the data. 

As if working at a big pot review company isn’t already a pretty sweet gig, Jointly also bills itself as the first company to offer cannabis as a “wellness benefit.” The 12-person staff (which now works remotely across the country) receives a stipend for a few ounces of bud every month. 

I don’t want to start a pissing contest here, but City Pulse used to provide quite the hefty stipend to help cover the products featured in this column — and that was well before Jointly even got started. So, if that record comes with a plaque, maybe mail it to the City Pulse office instead. 

In all, there isn’t necessarily a wide variety of Michigan brands on the Jointly app just yet—so I don’t think there are too many real takeaways from the title of “top performing” brand right now. You also can’t narrow down your location by region, so results don’t always show cannabis items available in Greater Lansing, but it still helps as a guidepost to help find the right strains. 

I’ve been tinkering around with the app for the last week and have already discovered several new items to add to my stoner bucket list. It’s worth a browse, especially if it keeps growing. 

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