Golden Ark, one of California’s leading seed-to-sale companies, paid tribute to cannabis culture on 4/20 by launching, the world’s first marijuana-dedicated metaverse. The company envisions a virtual world of weed, a Web3 entertainment ecosystem for herb enthusiasts. Its platform merges human experience with virtual reality technology to create multiple universes for millions in their global community.

If you’re a technophile who swallow every new development whole, you know about the metaverse. But if you’re like many others who are just catching up with cryptocurrency, another tech revolution may seem like data overload. You should know this manifestation is much more fun. It’s video gaming all grown up. It’s virtual reality technology taking the whole internet to another dimension – the third one. Yes, 3D interactive, immersive internet is here, on our computers, smartphones and VR headsets.

Be assured, the biggest tech and entertainment corporations understand. In fact, they want to take over building the unbounded network of universes. When Facebook changed its name to Meta, it sunk $10 billion (with a B) into the Oculus headset and developing VR hardware and software. Microsoft topped that by spending $70 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard, a gigantic video game developer. After striking out with AR vision wear in 2014, Google is taking another swing at augmented reality and invested a modest $40 million in start-up metaverse projects. The largest GPU developer, Nvidia is developing tools for metaverse developers and personal digital avatars. Unity Software is focusing on real-time 3D technology.

Not to be left behind, Lego partnered with Epic Games to create metaverse content and Roblox has dominated virtual gaming and game creation for the preteen crowd who will grow into this new technology. The e-commerce platform Shopify is moving to virtual shopping, and consumer brands like Gucci, Ralph Loren and L’Oreal are already marketing digital products while offering customer the opportunity to virtually try on their real merchandise.

Not everyone applauds the metaverse corporate grab gab, and many in the Web3 community decry any attempts to “own the metaverse.” They argue that metaverse should follow the principles of decentralized technology and create an inclusive cross-platform system open to anyone who wants to enter, regardless of their social media logins. It should welcome all communities and engage them in creating an interconnected seamless network of worlds for shopping, playing, working and socializing.

That’s why Golden Ark’s platform is so significant. It opens the metaverse to a large community that historically has been shunned or outright banned from mainstream social media sites. In this ecosystem, cannabis enthusiasts will be both users and creators, helping to build and evolve a network they’ve always wanted, and an immersive experience even they never imagined.

Inhabitants of this metaverse will enter the Ark tree, a boundless universe that radiates multiple interacting worlds. From there, they can visit Ark City, the capital of the Golden Ark metaverse and fully navigable urban landscape with concert hall, exhibits and galleries. They could also stop at the Lounge Zone, a communal space for socializing, showcasing NFTs or smoking digital weed. At Seed Horizons, Ark growers can cultivate virtual cannabis varieties with the Cannabis Growing Simulator, and monetize their weed farms by harvesting and selling their crops. With the digital earnings, they can buy new equipment, tools and fertilizer to optimize cultivation and expand crop fields. Growers can choose to build more agricultural structures, decorate and customize farms or hire seasonal help. They can exchange virtual cannabis for real or selected crypto.

In the Golden Ark metaverse, citizens have multiple opportunities to earn tokens, such as playing the Skunktastic Voyage arcade game with play-to earn and earn-to-burn strategies. They can exchange digital assets for real merchandise or use them inside the metaverse. Tokens can be redeemed at the Golden Ark Stores that can be found throughout the Ark Tree. These marketplaces offer real merchandise like Elemonkey wearables, accessories, topicals and cannabis products that can be shipped. Digital assets can be exchanged for real smoke in real dispensaries, which users can locate with help from a Golden Ark interactive map.

For use within the metaverse, Golden Ark Stores have seeds for Seed Horizon farms, NFT collectibles and avatars. Golden Ark presents a unique collection of 10 000 Skunkadelic avatars, each accompanied with one Generation 1, landrace cannabis seed. Owners hold rights to their Skunkadelic NFT and will also have naming rights to the strain if they grow their seed. Skunkadelics and their weed can be used in gameplay in the Golden Ark Metaverse or be monetized.

Golden Ark also integrated a virtual payment system in its metaverse. Users can store assets with Golden Ark Payments and use debit, credit cards or cryptocurrency to pay for purchases. Points can be accumulated with a point system. Transactions are secure with Golden Ark’s Arkthenticate® blockchain, software that works to prevent counterfeiting, manage and report supply chain activity, and records events onto the blockchain. Users can authenticate their products through the Arkthenticate® app.

No one knows how the metaverse will evolve or whether it will be dominated by corporations or communities, but could be a model for future innovative and inclusive platforms. At the very least, it’s not vaporware.