Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that many of us often wonder how we could live without it. If you’re reading this, it’s very possible you have a computer that you can carry around in your pocket, with access to the collected knowledge of the human race at your fingertips anywhere you go. Technological advances are shaping many different industries in surprising ways.
Here’s how technology is affecting the cannabis industry specifically, and how it might continue to change things well into the future.
Cannabis Intellectual Property
There’s a lot more to the cannabis industry than most people realize. It’s not just your neighbor growing a few plants in his garage anymore. That change created the need to protect the newly bred strains of marijuana as intellectual property.
Breeders who create a new strain of cannabis can apply for a patent, provided the strain can reproduce asexually and is made using simple or traditional breeding techniques. The strain must also be unique from other strains that exist today.
That’s where technology comes in. BLOCKStrain is a software company that has created a way to track cannabis intellectual property from its inception all the way through its cultivation and sale. It uses blockchain software — the same kind that is used to track cryptocurrency transactions. It works well to track and store massive amounts of data, such as that related to marijuana strain genomes.
BLOCKStrain is also one of the first types of cannabis-related technology that is being marketed in Canada. WeedMD, a licensed medical marijuana producer in the country, invested $500,000 into the BLOCKStrain platform and it is one of the first supply chain programs being implemented in Canada. It definitely won’t be the last, though. There are currently more than 100 licensed producers in the country, and more are opening up every single day.
Marijuana packaging and labeling is an essential part of the industry. Not only does it have to be specific to ensure the information is accurate, but it also needs to be integrated into secure packaging to keep it out of the hands of children. Strain Brain is a new type of fully customizable cannabis product label. It can be customized to include each dispensary’s information, and a single scan includes scientific data and pricing info right on the label.
It also doesn’t require any extra equipment to implement. The labels can be downloaded and customized on any standard computer and printed on plain old Avery 5236 label sheets that you can pick up from any office supply store.
Each label is also printed with a QR code that allows all the information to be accessed on any compatible smart device. This can be a great tool for inventory, but it can also provide information for patients and consumers who are interested in finding the best strain for themselves.
The best part about Strain Brain is that it utilizes artificial intelligence on its website. Machine learning algorithms mean that the more the site gets used, the smarter it gets. That makes it one of the best tools for marijuana information on the market today.
The cannabis industry is changing, and technology needs to keep up. Thankfully, it seems to be up to the task, with various programs already paving the way. With cannabis set to become a $62 billion industry in the next few years, technology will hopefully help keep the massive amount of different strains straight and shape the marijuana industry for years to come.
The rules governing the use and sale within Canada are under close scrutiny. Those who are for, and against the decriminalization have hardline stances on the subject, as the government seeks to find a level playing field.
On June 8, 2018, the Senate passed a bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It still remains unclear when Canadians can smoke up lawfully in this country.
Bill-C45 is still under review to determine how homegrown operations may or may not function, and what labeling guidelines companies must adhere to within the various provinces.
We are seeing a major push by huge corporations to get into the industry in what some people may classify as just a cash-grab. What was once considered a mom-and-pop underground marketplace will soon be transformed by business with access to the latest technologies in machine learning, and automation.
By: Kate Harveston, Tech Malak