Cannabis Startup Joins Prominent Chicago Tech Incubator

In another sign that marijuana is becoming a mainstream business, the Chicago-based technology incubator 1871 has brought cannabis startup Kannatopia into its fold.

Kannatopia aims to create a social network dedicated to marijuana aficionados who are seeking a space to talk about cannabis, but are reluctant about doing it on popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It will allow users to sign up anonymously or with their real names.

The website and app are still under construction, but a beta version is expected by November.

Kannatopia plans to generate revenue mainly through ads from cannabis brands targeting the nascent network’s audience.

Founded in 2012, 1871 is a mainstream, nonprofit business incubator that has launched about 130 tech companies and is or has been involved with nearly 250 others, according to its website. It has received millions of dollars in state grants along the way.

Kannatopia will face plenty of competition.

Last month, rapper Snoop Dogg and Los Angeles media entrepreneur Ted Chung announced their own online cannabis portal, Merry Jane, which wants to be a hub for marijuana consumers and those involved in the industry.

And MassRoots – a social networking site for marijuana users – has carved out a sizable niche already.