When two siblings, David and Elizabeth Gregory, were laid off from their jobs in January, they used their free time to create an iPhone application focusing on the legalization of marijuana.
CHRONIC-les was released for sale May 21 and has had more than 1,000 downloads, ranking it at number seven under the Lifestyle section in the iTunes App Store.
The app features the laws and consequences for possession in each state, facts and figures supporting why marijuana should be legal and a pre-written letter to President Obama that can be sent by pushing a button, described by David as “petition on the go.” It can also locate the nearest NORML chapter.
Elizabeth, 26, is an applied sociology graduate student. She finished her undergraduate degree in marketing in 2005. David, 24, took classes at UCF but has been taking time off to work. Neither of them had any programming experience, so they borrowed library books and taught themselves. David does the programming and Elizabeth writes the content.
The siblings have plans in the works to create other applications, which they could not disclose. Elizabeth said some of them will be free, “to give back to people.”
Central Florida Future: When did you guys first come up with the idea, and how?
David: We thought, well, there’s no application to promote the legalization of marijuana. And that’s, like, one of the big things, being the first type of application in a specific genre. There’s no political category, and there hasn’t been an application on marijuana. That sounds funny. It was just an idea that was floating around. I read an article about this 9-year-old that made a drawing application for an iPhone. So we’re like, man, if a 9-year-old can do it, anyone can.
CFF: How long did the programming part of it take you?
David: Including reading, it was about two months from when I got laid off to when it was submitted.
CFF: What’s the process like for actually getting your application sold on iTunes?
David: First you have to enroll into the iPhone developer program. You set up an account; You set up your tax and banking information. You pay your annual fee, and they provide you with the software to start developing. Basically, they give you the software, and really you can download it for free, and the only time you have to actually enroll and pay for the yearly program is once you’re ready to submit an application.
CFF: Did iTunes communicate with you back and forth at all?
David: Not at all. They don’t even really give contact information.
Elizabeth: But apparently if they deny it they give you a reason, because recently a few apps have been denied.
David: Which is actually a pretty big deal because there’s a lot of applications that have been denied. We developed it knowing beforehand that we weren’t going to be upset if they didn’t accept it. We were thinking, “Maybe. This is iffy. It’s kind of on a fine line where they might accept it.” Because they’re based in California, and it’s basically legal there, and Apple, I guess — in San Francisco — didn’t find it obscene or offensive.
CFF: What are the biggest challenges you’ve had so far?
David: Learning the programming language has been a little difficult, but it’s definitely been worth it.
Elizabeth: And sharing a Mac. We have to give it back and forth for him to do updates.
David: Right now she has my Dell laptop, and I have her Mac laptop. So that will probably be one of the first things we do is upgrade our equipment.
CFF: Would you consider this a business venture or an effort to support a cause?
Elizabeth: It’s a little of both, I think.
David: Yeah, it’s both. People say work at something you love and you’re passionate about. And we’re pretty passionate about getting marijuana legalized.
Elizabeth: And the other thing is, I don’t see how really you could spend all day and all night dedicated to something and not at least have your bills paid. So, we’re not trying to make a million dollars or anything, but if I could pay my rent that would be good.
David: Now that we see it’s accepted and we’ve been learning how to program, it would be nice to keep rolling out applications. I could see it being a career.
CFF: What has made you so passionate about marijuana being legalized?
Elizabeth: It just seems like it has been demonized for the wrong reasons. When you do historical research, you’ll find that a lot of it was fueled by racism in different countries, in different time periods. So it was made illegal for the wrong reasons, first of all. And secondly, when you think about alcohol and tobacco and the damage that does to society, and OxyCotin and all the other prescription drugs that are abused all the time, people OD and die on these drugs. And marijuana cannot kill you.
By Virginia Kiddy