Our days are the perfect time for high technologies to get even higher by all means and partner with the cannabis industry. Half of the states in the U.S. have already legalized marijuana on a local level for either medical or recreational use or both. And although the DEA made it clear that marijuana would not be removed from the Schedule I list in the near future, it does not mean that we cannot improve marijuana businesses and technologies locally.
People started to talk openly about marijuana industry's collaboration with the high-tech companies just recently. The first big step was made by one of the biggest IT corporations―Microsoft―when it broke the corporate taboo and stepped into the world of legal marijuana. And although Microsoft will still have nothing to do with cannabis itself, the fact that the name of the company and the word “marijuana” will now constantly appear in the same sentence means a lot. It shows us that the stigma that kept legal cannabis industry from further development is now being challenged.
But the truth is that legal marijuana industry had already been using high-tech solutions long before Microsoft made its decisive move. It is just that Microsoft was the first company from the corporate America to move to the next level. So, what are the most popular high-tech solutions that marijuana industry is using today?
Apparently, one of the biggest areas where high technologies can be used is marijuana paraphernalia. Big companies and small startups create innovative vaporizers and vape pens that change the way cannabis is consumed.
There are gadgets that allow you to smoke dried cannabis and gadgets you can use for vaping marijuana concentrates. It is like a high-tech alternative to classic joints, pipes, and bongs. And although traditional ways of consuming marijuana remain quite popular, new technologies and tools have already carved out a niche in the legal cannabis market.
This is the area where Microsoft, among the others, will show what it is capable of. There are tons of variations of cannabis tracking systems and applications created mostly by small startups. Some apps allow tracking cannabis plants from seed to sale, while others help cannapreneurs keep their business within the law.
The contradictory status of marijuana in different states is one of the main obstacles a today's cannapreneur is forced to deal with. Each state where cannabis is legal in some form has its own limits for possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. Moreover, when it comes to medical marijuana, each state has its list of qualifying conditions and a list of special requirements for packaging, delivery, etc. And software companies create specific solutions that help keep marijuana businesses safe and compliant with local regulations.
However, cannapreneurs are not the only ones who can use marijuana-oriented software solutions. There is a bunch of startups that create cloud solutions, online services, and mobile applications for marijuana users or even for both cannabis businesses and their customers. Some apps create some kind of a social network for marijuana lovers where they can communicate and share experiences freely. Others provide apps and online solutions that help locate marijuana dispensaries in certain areas, find specific strains, place orders, or even consult with a doctor about the possibility of using medical weed instead of (or in addition to) traditional medicine.
Most banks across the U.S. still do not want to get involved with cannabis-related businesses. The reason is clear―even when marijuana is legalized for both medical and recreational use in a certain state, the plant is still considered a Schedule I substance on the federal level.
Still, there are a few high-tech solutions that make it a bit easier for marijuana retailers to do their job. The point-of-sale systems that were developed specifically for marijuana businesses are on the list of these solutions.
The main task for those who create POS systems for cannabis businesses is to keep all operations fully compliant with the local marijuana law. In order to do that, the system should be able to accomplish several tasks at the same time: to identify a customer, to confirm the authenticity of their ID card (as well as medical marijuana card if needed), to track the amount of purchased items and make sure it remains within legal limits, etc.
And of course, one of the biggest areas where high technologies can help a lot is marijuana cultivation, processing, and manufacturing. For example, modern high-tech solutions help weed growers keep the light, temperature, air composition, level of humidity, and amount of the nutrients in the soil at the best level possible. These solutions also help lower the resource consumption and make weed gardens a bit more environment-friendly.
When it comes to processing or manufacturing, the situation is pretty much the same. The latest high-tech solutions help cannabis manufacturers minimize their losses and get the most out of their businesses.