The legalization of Medical & Recreational marijuana in United States and Canada brings about some hefty opportunities for technology companies looking to enter this new, uncharted market. Every corner of the industry will be impacted by technology, whether it is using artificial intelligence with cannabis production, smart warehouse and logistics solutions with supply chain management, mobile applications for connecting to local dispensaries, and eCommerce websites for distribution. Companies across both the United States and Canada will be able to cash in by providing delivery services, inventory and customer relationship management options, and loyalty rewards programs to name a few. In this article, we will explore how this legalization and the role of digitization will enable and pave the way for technology-based services.
Digitization refers to the adoption and integration of digital technologies into our everyday life, with key market players in the cannabis industry being companies that produce and distribute through computerized systems and advanced technologies. The most obvious of these will be new technologies centered around the formulation and delivery of cannabis, as well as, the entire consumer experience of cannabis. With this said though, let’s take a closer look at how the role of technology will impact the cannabis market as a whole.
One of the most obvious roles that technology plays is in the delivery of cannabis is through online ordering and eCommerce websites. In Canada, Shopify was chosen to be the retail platform for online sales in cannabis, not because the company is in the business of selling marijuana but because they had the eCommerce platform best designed for it.
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Beyond this, numerous eCommerce websites and mobile applications are being created to connect online orders with customer delivery, with some even considering drone delivery in the future (Eaze Company – United States).
Another avenue to be considered is Bitcoin, which greatly reduces the cost of transferring payments to and from consumers to retailers. Not only does it eliminate chargebacks but it can also track cannabis sales from seed to end-sale. This is important as it means the decentralized ledger can verify the supply chain of marijuana without compromising its security.
As the number of dispensaries and retailers grows, the delivery of marijuana products to consumers and patients also increases. This can cause some confusion around the delivery process as not all cities or states allow marijuana delivery (a non-issue in Canada) and thus delivery becomes time-consuming. The information that goes hand-in-hand with delivery needs to be kept straight to keep confusion at a minimum, which has enabled delivery logistics software to flourish. This type of software helps dispensaries dispatch, keep track of, and analyze deliveries. This allows companies to then optimize their process and reduce both time and costs spent.
Beyond this, as marijuana products get moved from one stakeholder to the next, whether this is from the cultivator to the manufacturer, the manufacturer to the dispensary, or the dispensary to the retailer, there is risk involved. Unfortunately, theft is not uncommon and because of this, sophisticated security technology is being created. Things like surveillance cameras for delivery trucks, GPS tracking solutions and recording software are becoming quite popular among cannabis companies. To take this a step further, we are even seeing mobile applications that track legally grown pot to ensure that it does not go onto the black market and that all growers comply with their state’s tax law obligations.
It should come as no surprise that the future of IoT based smart farming is not very far off as robots in greenhouses are pushing conventional cultivation techniques. Any medium to large commercial operation must rely on some automation techniques in order to successfully manage the logistics of growing cannabis. Some of these technologies include making routine climate adjustments based on zone-to-zone data and real-time factors, which allow for the grower to take a step back from micromanaging each individual plant.
You may like to refer: Cost to build IoT based PoC on Smart Farming System
As some tech companies focus on the climate control segment, others are focusing on creating robots that can complete complicated tasks like turning the soil and weeding the plants. In addition to this, there are some companies who are using data-capture technology to enable growers to identify what conditions are optimal for their plants, which will lead to high-quality yields and more popular product. We are even seeing advances in irrigation systems and heat lamps, as some companies are focusing on bringing lower energy loads to growers as a way to incentivize producers and manufacturers to reduce their energy expenses while still increasing output volume.
Whether it is through the collection of data via mobile applications and blockchain, informed decisions based on predictive analytics, or machine learning, technology is enabling companies to reduce risk and optimize the decision-making process. The data that is collected from consumers can reveal trends in production schedules, items sold, grow cycles, packaging needs, sales projections, wholesale prices, healthcare trends, consumer trends in spending, market share, product launches, and even re-ordering and inventory trends. This kind of information helps businesses gain a market advantage as it mitigates risks and increases profit margins.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and be pervaded by advanced technology, more and more companies are encouraged to get into the market. In being relatively new, there’s still lots of room for innovation within the industry. We have a large local presence in both the United States and Canada, are experts in on-demand platform development, and have core teams both IoT precision farming, big data analysis, and machine learning. We provide end-to-end web and mobile solutions to small, medium, and large scale businesses and have flexible models to fit all types of businesses. With our experience, knowledge, and local presence in the Western market, we can help elevate your cannabis company to the next level by leveraging smart solutions.
If you are looking to get into the cannabis market but are not sure where to start, get in touch with our expert consultants for instant help.