MassRoots Catches No Heat at CES

Dell fully hated on the cannabis-centric social app in Vegas.

Dude, you're [not] getting a Dell

The team at MassRoots won't be, at least. After Dell dissed the social network of the cannabis community at CES 2016, it became clear that the maker of PCs just isn't down with THC, even in tech. 

It went down like this: MassRoots (MSRT) was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Extreme Tech Challenge—a contest that pits emerging startups against one another for the chance to pitch a demo to potential investors following the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The inclusion of the cannabis-friendly social app that operates much in the same vein as Instagram, was a first for the weed world.

At CES, cannabis enthusiasts saw MassRoots serving as a positive ambassador for the industry and an example of how innovators are leveraging technology to empower cannabis businesses. MassRoots founder and CEO, Isaac Dietrich, said: “We’re just taking the business model that works for Facebook and Twitter, and applying it to the cannabis industry.”

This spirit of applied innovation—apparently—was upsetting to the contest organizers, and the Consumer Technology Association, which oversees CES. 

Dell, who the contest organizers hoped would send a representative as a contest judge, and subsequently provide computers to the winners as part of the prize package, backed out altogether as a result of MassRoots being selected as a finalist.

In a statement from Dell, the company explains its actions: 

“Our goal with programs like this is to provide computers to influencers who create a positive impact through technology...In this instance, we declined to participate because one of the companies in the contest did not meet our criteria.”

MassRoots was founded in 2013 in Colorado, where cannabis is completely legal. More than 700,000 users in weed-legal states take to the app to share their relationships with the herb, and foster relationships with one another. The company went public in April 2015, and filed for a NASDAQ listing in August of the same year. Stocks were trading for around $1-per-share at time of posting. 

Despite Dell dissing MassRoots, the presence of a company operating in the legal weed space at the largest consumer trade show in the tech industry should be seen by pot proponents as progress. As more companies are granted stage time in front of a mainstream audience, the stigmas surrounding the cannabis industry will bit by bit lift.