In the past, a “cannabis entrepreneur” was a simple euphemism for “drug dealer.” But now, being a cannabis entrepreneur means being a pioneer in the marijuana industry, which is heading toward regulation, standardization, and commodization. Needless to say, technology is playing a large role in the industry’s future, so TechCrunch has listed down six of the best tech opportunities for those who want to enter the growing cannabis scene:
- Exchange Platforms
As the industry moves toward commodization, many cannabis businesses are starting to trade in public markets. After all, if the federal government legalizes marijuana, the overall cannabis market can reach $35 billion annually by 2020, according to the Huffington Post.
Exchange platforms like Amercanex, CCX, and CHEX are creating catalysts for the proper industrialization of cannabis and its derivatives. They are starting to create standards and qualitative rules for scoring and grading and also setting up environments for market-based pricing. In the future, wholesale cannabis transactions will be done on marketplaces and exchanges.
The cannabis industry needs more efficient solutions for industrial cultivation, so this is where Agra-tech methods come in. For instance, the use of greenhouses for plant cultivation is helping cannabis growers limit the amount of water usage as well as save on energy consumption, even though this method is yet to be implemented on an industrial level.
Laboratory grade testing is important for accurately defining the properties and potential effects of cannabis plants. It ensures safety and consistency in such a nascent industry, and tech innovation is needed in order to make testing more efficient.
Similarly, cannabis users also need to be tested during usage in order to make sure that they are actually getting the advertised benefits. This can be done through clinical trials and recreational taste tests.
- Manufacturing and Production
There are many opportunities when it comes to extraction and derivative creation of cannabis. After all, marijuana products will not only be limited to flowers and buds, but will also span edibles, pills, waxes, oils, tinctures, lotions, and patches. All kinds of machinery and hardware are needed to implement these processes.
- Business Technology and Technological Infrastructure
These tech-based opportunities will certainly require a wide variety of technological infrastructure. Examples of such tools include seed-to-sale tracking systems and inventory management systems. It is even more important for medical marijuana, as technologies securing patient data need to be easily accessible for doctors. Businesses also need to be transparent with their operations, so a platform that ensures a safe, consistent, and customer-focused set of products and services will be needed. Advertising technology is also necessary to enable businesses to reach their target demographics.
- eCommerce and the On-Demand Economy
eCommerce is still the best medium for transactions in this day and age. Businesses will scramble to create mobile-friendly applications that would cater to the demands of an enormous market. Financial technology would also play a huge role in the collection of payments, since most transactions are now being done online. Cannabis-on-demand will also catch on, starting from companies like Eaze and Potbox.
As the legal marijuana field continues to open up more opportunities, professionals in the tech sector will be able to find more lucrative jobs within this flourishing industry.
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