The cannabis industry is the ideal marketplace for “budding” entrepreneurs to make a name for themselves. According to CNBC, cannabis is projected to be a $70 billion market by 2028. And because there is still a massive amount of untapped potential due to the fact many states have not legalized medical or adult-use, that number could climb higher.
Cannabis advocates and entrepreneurs who have been harmed by a draconian system that once penalized them for their interest in the plant are now free to explore the many avenues offered in the burgeoning industry, leading to unprecedented innovation.
How It Works
Transactions, or “swaps” can be made at recommended locations such as dispensaries, or app users can determine an agreed upon location.
Every user must agree to Budswap’s terms of service which include no liability for any illegal activity that occurs during a swap.
However, Miller stressed that his team would crack down on any unscrupulous activity occurring during swaps such as prescription bartering or theft.
Along with swaps, users can trade their cannabis for services such as walking their dogs or cleaning their cars.
Essentially it’s a bartering system where cannabis can be used as cash.
However, for legal purposes, the app only allows users to “gift” the cannabis to one another, as states are stringent on how the plant is bought and sold.
The services rendered do not constitute a transactions but rather, favors and gifts.
The app also features a rating system similar to that of Uber, where users can rate and comment on the quality of their swaps.
Miller is a true grassroots entrepreneur, and he will be the first to tell you the road to creating the app was not an easy one.
However, a combination of determination, a clear vision, and a supportive cannabis community have coalesced to put Miller on the path to success.
Endorsements from some of the biggest players in the industry including Redman, Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg, and many others have come over the last two years.
Cannabis & Tech Today had the opportunity to talk with Miller about his journey from development to launch. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Cannabis & Tech Today: So where are you based?
Antonio Miller: We have three business licenses. One out of Colorado, California, and our gaming company BudSwap Gaming founded by Markeith Franklin who is also the Chief Marketing Executive of BudSwap LLC.
C&T Today: I checked out a couple of things on social media, and I saw a post from Redman. He was promoting the app, so that is awesome.
AM: Yes, sir it was a historic moment once the legends began knowing about our brand and platform who paved the way for young men and women such as ourselves.
C&T Today: It’s growing. Where’s the app at right now? In terms of development? And as far as funding?
AM: Right now, we are in last phase of development.
C&T Today: Okay. So, what does that mean?
AM: We are in the first round of investment and seeking pre-seed capital to complete the coding phase of our mobile app.
C&T Today: Got it. So you’ve already got the business license. You’re in the last phase of funding, and what about the advertising for it? What are you doing?
AM: We have the patent pending for the intellectual property and trademark through the USPTO.
Our company is listed on Google as well. We utilize network marketing strategies through social media and word of mouth to market the company and brand. Our Instagram is @BudSwapTheBiz. During the journey marketing, alongside trusted friend Markeith, the team had boots on the ground, spreading the word in high traffic areas such as gas stations. Guerrilla style marketing with limited resources during the process.
I literally got up on Instagram, and I thought of a concept based off of relationship building, because that’s what every business is about. I ultimately knew in order to have a successful cannabis style company we couldn’t do it without the approval of The OOOG Uncle Snoop Dogg himself, so I went to his Instagram and began working.
The first thing I did was I reached out to two men on Snoop Dogg’s page by the names of Ronald and Reginald Singleton, also know as TwinSkills Pro LLC, expert licensed plumbers based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. I noticed they worked actively in their community and were men of honor. I then send a message to these young men asking “What’s the best way to get in touch with you to discuss some business?”
They then responded giving me their number and I reached out to them and we began building our relationship. While engaged in conversation after explaining our company, I asked “How did you all get Snoop Dogg following you on Instagram?” And they shared that with me. They said, “We were doing our old school car raffle. It was the first one, and Snoop saw the car and wanted to buy it but The Twins had to inform Snoop Dogg that the raffle had began and people have already purchased tickets. They would not be able to sell him the car but would tell the person who won the raffle he was interested in buying the car. Furthermore, The Twins also informed me that the both had 200 shares a piece in High Times Magazine and of course they would invest in me. We were honored.
So I went and experienced the first raffle and met The Twins and this gave me confidence to continue the entrepreneurial journey. The Twins embraced us with love and respect like no other investing their time, hard earned money, and wise insight to assist in the building of this platform.
They’ve agreed to promote our merch and create content with three of the biggest cannabis influencers in the game, Curren$y @spitta_andretti on IG, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg. The Twins remained true to their word to this very day and are a major catalyst to the BudSwap Movement. We were also fortunate to initiate our work with endorsements from High Times Magazine and The Legend Layzie Bone @thereallayziebone on IG from Bone Thugs and Harmony through emails, phone calls and videos with the assistance of Co-Founder Mister Funksway.
C&T Today: When did you come up with the concept for the app, and when did you actually start building it?
AM: April of 2020 is when I founded BudSwap™️.
When the pandemic hit. During that time,I was dealing with marital issues, the recent discovery of being raised in an adopted family and struggling to find my beautiful biological mother, Gloria Bonner, and working difficult manual and skilled labor jobs, on a hamster wheel, seeking my place in society. There ultimately was a calling for my life to be something greater.
So I left Georgia with $100 to my name in a car without insurance and began the trek to Colorado hoping one day to reunite with my family, a better man.
I did tree removal work while living in my vehicle with no knowledge I would create BudSwap. Being a connoisseur of premium cannabis and a medicinal consumer it was like a kid in a candy store being my first time in a recreational legal state. I been doing budswaps to survive with the bare minimum. One day after work while in Colorado, I thought of the commercial back in the day promoting the App Store where there’s an app for every possible usage to make everyday life more convenient. BudSwap Boom. There wasn’t an app like this one. Something weighed heavy on my heart after the thought, and I seen this as the opportunity to help the world and reunite with my daughter with a new purpose in life. I called the app company, Appsketiers, located in Atlanta, Georgia. They have made apps for AT&T and Hilton and previous work was impressive. With Five hundred dollars down they began the first 5 pages of BudSwap. While living in my car, I used my entire check two weeks in a row, while supporting my child from a far and bought the business license through Legal Zoom. Next I began team building. Several people will be responsible for the success of BudSwap that will be listed in later publications. Through teamwork, hard work, and risks is how it all got started.
C&T Today: Well, it’s a great concept. Will all of this be legal? Because if you’re doing a bud swap, I don’t know the full legality of it.
We received several legal consultations with several attorneys, The Pot Brothers at Law being two in particular who specialize in cannabis law made us aware of the legalities. By law, where cannabis is recreationally or federally legal, anyone can give up to an ounce to another consumer of the legal age limit to consume.
Being federally legal in Canada we even began a team and company there as well. This app will be available to anyone 21+ years and up in your Google Marketplace and Apple App Store.
Anywhere where hemp or cannabis is legal, you’ll be able to access this app. The possibilities are endless.
C&T Today: So, I know you can swap bud, but I guess the idea is legally, what you’re doing is you’re gifting that marijuana to somebody else and then they’re gifting theirs to you?
AM: Legally, yes. We like to use the term barter and gifting. The app will operate similar to our big brother Weed Maps, using IP addresses to restrict any illegal trades.
C&T Today: You said you can swap bud for other strains or other services? What would those services include? You give somebody an eighth and they clean your apartment or something?
Exactly. The number of cannabis consumers within their own industries that are willing to barter a variety of services in exchange for cannabis products.
It’s not limited to flower, so the oils, edibles, seeds, plants, clones, etc. Anything cannabis or CBD-related can be exchanged on this platform. Budswap has a marketplace where people within your community, can list items in exchange for the bud.
I would say, just from my own point of view. I would be careful. Make sure you have a good attorney to make sure that everything is above board. Because what if somebody decides to swap more than an ounce?
Our platform will not allow users to legally trade any amount of cannabis that is not legally regulated for trade in your state.
Everybody needs an ID. We need their ID, and we’re going to do a photo verification as well as a picture for facial recognition to match the ID.
And there will be email verifications and each person that swaps, has the ability of rating each swap on a five star rate system, with a comment.
So it’s like people have the ability to report their swaps too.
The BudSwap Team as well as our fellow cannabis community will be responsible for policing this platform to ensure its member’s safety.
C&T Today: Sounds like you’ve thought everything through. And you’re in a good place with it. You just have this last round of investment, and then you can go live, right?
AM: No sir. This is the seed level of our journey and are looking for great people to join us. If anyone is interested in getting involved, I can be reached at 303-921-7870 or on Instagram @BudSwaptheBiz. Thanks. Shout out to Sephida Artis-Mills, her family, and The National Cannabis Party. Also, recently we attracted the attention of NuDay Capital® Founder, Dennis Herrera Wall Street Investor, who mentioned the passion and drive behind the company was quite impressive. Under the mentorship of Mr. Herrera, it makes you wonder what is next for this company.