California cannabis sales are likely to be extraordinary, especially once retail sales start on January 1st. However, it may be all of the other derivative products that are manufactured out of California that makes the industry grow beyond anyone’s expectations.
Already there are grow systems being made that look like big iPods, and apps to monitor and manage nutrients and proper lighting. There seem to be new innovative ways of ingesting cannabis that utilize all different sorts of tools. Technology is Silicon Valley’s wheelhouse and they now have a whole new big industry path to head. What do you think Silicon Valley will look like in ten years?
The marriage of technology and cannabis entrepreneurship has gone from a passion-project for growers, to a full-fledged venture capitalist (VC) bonanza in just the past year and a half. Marijuana startups are no longer simply the domain of experts on cultivation and plant-strain for medical dispensaries. The profits are now measured in billions and developers are being offered increasingly high-paying positions at cannabis startups .
It’s difficult to determine exactly how much money there is in the cannabis industry. A report from Forbes states that North American sales totaled $6.7 billion in 2016. Investors looking for an emerging industry that’s worth billions, doesn’t have stiff competition from major international companies, and is as close to a ‘sure thing’ as possible need look no further than cannabis. The Motley Fool expects a 300 percent increase in cannabis revenues, in the US alone, over the next five years. That figure could increase exponentially if more US States legalize cannabis for adult recreational use.
With the addition of California, 21 percent of the US population now live in an area where adult-use cannabis consumption is legal. Cannabis, one can safely argue, is here to stay.
Roger Obando, the CTO and co-founder of Baker, a software platform for cannabis dispensaries, thinks there’s too much money in the market for the rest of the country to ignore. He cites the recent addition of California into the market as the definitive turning point for cannabis tech:
You’ve got the sixth-largest economy in the world passing legislation that allows recreational adult-use. This is really the watershed moment for cannabis tech. It’s hard to ignore the revenue now, and it’s even harder to tell what kind of increase we’ll see when we start getting the California numbers. We’ve already seen that the VC climate has changed quite a bit in the last 18-months alone. We’re in a unique position here, there isn’t a whole lot of competition in the space.
There’s also the products that more closely resemble something from Apple or Samsung than a device designed with the cannabis user in mind. Pax Labs makes a hand-held vaporizer that features full app integration, haptic feedback, and games built into the device. It’s well crafted, comes with a 10-year warranty, and looks fancy enough to be a fashion accessory. Cannabis tech startups are serious business. We’re past the pot-jokes and stereotypes that generalize and dismiss the technology as faddish or silly.
There’s more to cannabis tech than vaporizers and grow-machines – though the market for specialized consumer gadgets related to cannabis will likely grow along with the rest of the industry. Even Apple filed a patent for a vaporizer. There’s AR apps that help growers, and of course the obligatory Uber for weed. We’ve also covered the Keurig for weed, and the crypto-currency for weed. Even Microsofthas gotten in on the action.
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