Combined U.S. medical and recreational cannabis sales could reach $33.6 billion by the end of 2023, largely driven by the opening of new adult-use markets. Retail cannabis sales are projected to be upwards of $53.5 billion by 2027, according to analysis from the MJBiz Factbook.
The cannabis industry has experienced a profound transformation, thanks to technological advancements. From cultivation and production to compliance, distribution, and sales, technology plays a pivotal role in digitizing and revolutionizing the way cannabis-related businesses operate. This digital revolution has not only streamlined processes and improved efficiency but has also opened a world of possibilities for innovation and growth within the industry. Here are a few ways technology has revolutionized the legal cannabis market.
Cultivation and Production
Technology has impacted the cultivation and production of marijuana. Cutting-edge technologies such as hydroponics, automated irrigation, and climate control systems have revolutionized indoor growing operations. These advancements allow growers to closely monitor and control environmental conditions, optimizing growth and crop yields. Furthermore, advanced lighting systems and genetic research have led to the development of more potent and disease-resistant cannabis strains.
Additionally, precision agriculture tools, such as drones and satellite imaging, monitor crops, detect diseases, and manage inventory. These technologies enable farmers to make data-driven decisions, increase productivity, and minimize losses. By leveraging technology, cultivators consistently produce high-quality cannabis while reducing costs and limiting environmental impact.
Processing and Extraction
The process of transforming harvested cannabis into various products (e.g., concentrates and edibles) has also been significantly streamlined through technological advancements. Modern extraction methods, such as supercritical CO2 extraction, have replaced traditional methods, delivering higher yields, purity, and consistency. Automation and robotics have also found their way into processing facilities, reducing human error potential and supporting precise, efficient production.
Laboratory technologies have also improved testing and quality control processes. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) allow for accurate and reliable testing of cannabinoids and terpenes, ensuring product safety and potency. With these advancements, consumers have greater confidence in product quality and standards.
E-Commerce and Retail
The digital revolution has had an unmistakable effect on the way cannabis products are marketed, sold, and brought to consumers. E-commerce platforms have emerged as a convenient and accessible way for consumers to browse and legally buy marijuana products. Online marketplaces and delivery services provide a wide selection of products, detailed information, and user reviews, empowering consumers to make informed choices.
Furthermore, point-of-sale (POS) systems specifically designed for the cannabis industry have simplified retail operations. These systems handle compliance, inventory management, and customer data, streamlining the purchasing process for all involved. Digital payment solutions, including cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets, have also made transactions more efficient, versatile, and secure.
Regulatory Compliance and Track-and-Trace
Because the cannabis industry operates within a complex regulatory landscape, technology has been instrumental in facilitating compliance and track-and-trace processes. Seed-to-sale tracking systems use barcodes and RFID tags to monitor the movement of cannabis products throughout the supply chain. This technology allows regulators to track the origin, quality, and distribution of cannabis products, ensuring consumer safety and preventing diversion into the illicit market.
Additionally, blockchain technology is being explored to enhance transparency and trust in the cannabis industry. By recording transactions and product data on a fixed and decentralized ledger, blockchain can provide a secure and tamper-proof historical log of the entire supply chain. This enables regulators and consumers to verify the authenticity and integrity of cannabis products.
As with many other industries, artificial intelligence (AI) is also penetrating the legal cannabis market. Here are a few example AI applications in this industry:
- AI-driven data analytics assist cultivators in optimizing crop yields and quality by studying environmental trends.
- Retailers use AI-powered inventory management to maintain desired stock levels and predict consumer preferences in advance.
- Generative AI (like chatbots) and virtual assistants offer personalized recommendations to consumers, improving their shopping experiences, preferences, and product knowledge.
- AI algorithms aid in compliance and regulatory adherence, helping organizations abide by constantly evolving laws.
- AI-driven marketing strategies help target specific demographics effectively.
Across every aspect of operations, the legal cannabis industry strives to maintain compliance while providing high-quality products to its consumers. With the help of the technologies mentioned, organizations in this sector continue to reach higher degrees of efficiency, enhance their offerings, and generate sustainable revenue streams.
See how TeamWherx® can help your cannabis company digitize and automate workflows to help drive greater revenue: