Geeks Are Taking Over the Cannabis Industry
For High Tech Innovators, Now’s the Time to Enter the Growing Cannabis Industry
Less than two years ago, marijuana businesses were mainly the projects of civic-minded liberals who prioritized service over profits. The main players were long-time users and weed proponents, who reveled in the increasing legalization of marijuana. The most noted professionals were the experts who consulted with dispensaries about proper cultivation techniques and the properties of specific cannabis strains.
Today, the landscape of the cannabis industry has changed dramatically, as profits have rolled in. Apparently, there’s a lot more money to be had than what was first thought. Investors and venture capitalists have come forward once it became apparent that profits can potentially reach billions of dollars. Silicon Valley has come calling too, and that means serious upgrade in the tech of the cannabis industry.
How Much Money Is There?
Right now, it’s not easy to accurately determine the potential financial payouts in the marijuana business landscape. According to Forbes, the 2016 sales in North America actually reached as high as 6.7 billion. That’s a good reason why investors have flocked to the industry, but that’s not the sole reason. It’s a billion-dollar industry that’s still in its early stages, so the profits in the future are bound to be even greater. There’s also no competition from multinational companies, which may have the resources but not the inclination to participate in such a controversial consumer item.
Cannabis is virtually a sure thing, with Motley Fool estimating 4-fold increase in cannabis revenue over the next 5 years just in the US. It could grow even more if (or when) more states treat it like alcohol and finally legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. What really spurred the projections for growth is the passing of Proposition 64 in California. This was the turning point that venture capitalists couldn’t ignore. California represents the 6th largest economy in the whole world, and now the state is moving towards putting the framework in place to make recreational cannabis a reality.
Potential Problems Of course, The most significant problem is the rather vague legal status of the marijuana industry in the eyes of the US federal government. Nationally, it’s still categorized as a schedule I controlled substance, like heroin and cocaine.
It doesn’t quite jive with the state laws enacted in recent years. Many have already passed laws allowing for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. A few have already allowed its recreational use for adults. Combining the populations of these lenient states together means that more than 1 out of 5 US citizens now reside in an area where cannabis consumption is legal. It’s quite apparent that marijuana use won’t disappear anytime soon. What’s more, the growing acceptance of recreational marijuana use in Canada has lit up cannabis business stock prices as well. With the entry of Silicon Valley, there’s also the prospect of even more tech involved in the industry.
Tech Innovations Cannabis technology is just starting in 2017, and developers who enter the market right now can get a running start over competitors who come later. The products and gadgets which have been developed for the cannabis industry have become more sophisticated, and they’ve gone beyond mere grow machinery and vaporizers. The tech innovators entering the scene aren’t mere fringe players either. Apple has already filed a patent for their own vaporizer design. Microsoft is getting its feet wet in the cannabis industry too. Growers can use augmented reality apps, and there’s even an Uber-like service for marijuana.
The famous coffeemaker Keurig has a gadget for cannabis preparation, and there’s now a Bitcoin version for marijuana transactions. Advances have come in leaps and bounds, and the recently launched hand-held vaporizer from Pax Labs is an excellent example of newfangled cannabis tech. It offers complete app integration and haptic feedback, and there are even built-in games in this vaporizer. It works as a fashion accessory, and it’s durable enough to come with a 10-year warranty.
The Verdict for Cannabis Tech Experts are unanimous in their outlook regarding the eventual rise and growth of the cannabis industry. There’s virtually no credible expert who has concluded otherwise. Profit is there for the taking, as long as you get in as early as possible. Developers who come in only when the federal ban on marijuana is lifted may find that they’ve come in too late—the early birds will have too much of a head start, and they’ll get the lion’s share of the profits.