Legal cannabis tends to elevate things, and technology is no exception. As weed legalization is elected state by state and federal legalization bills authored by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle populate Congress, the signal to the business-minded is clear: the market wants weed.
This is what Chris Burggraeve was getting at when the former chief marketing officer for Budweiser brewing company Anheuser-Busch explained his reason for investing in the cannabis industry:
“This is one of the fastest-growing categories globally. Why? Because people want it. When consumers want something, you ignore it at your own peril.”
This mindset explains the impressive technological gains made in the new legal cannabis industry. Consumers want their technology and their recreation high, so bringing the former into the latter is only going to make a brand more competitive. The following five tech startups are banking on it.
Legal cannabis is expensive, so lifestyle users looking to save a lot of money do well to consider growing their own garden. While cultivating a personal garden isn’t the hardest endeavor to undertake, it isn’t the easiest one either.
That’s what motivated Yuni Ofir to enhance his own home grow. That desire for increased personal efficiency led to the creation of LEAF, Ofir’s incredibly user-friendly home grow system.
It looks like a modern mini-fridge, but it is oh-so-much more. Built with an HD camera, industrial pH sensor, ppm sensor, air temperature sensor, humidity sensor, plant height sensor, water level sensor, and water temperature sensor, this growing system takes care of the entire process. The system operates automatically, and that includes providing mechanisms for automatic watering and nutrient dosing. The totally insulated environment regulates temperature and humidity, and the entire system can be monitored and controlled through LEAF’s iOS and Android app.
Given weed’s federal prohibition, LEAF’s website makes no mention of the machine’s efficacy for cannabis cultivation. Instead, the website says that the system works for plants including wheatgrass, kale, and spinach. But make no mistake—this is an invention for the wealthy cannabis enthusiast—one unit costs just under $3,000. For now.
When Louis Cirillo and Matthew Kummer were on a ski trip, they talked about the difficulty they’d observed friends experience when trying to light a bowl on the windy slopes. It took forever to get set up, and once their pipes were loaded, the lighter couldn’t resist the wind. That’s when their idea was born.
The ARC is designed for the adventurer who likes to light up in places where shielding a flame from the weather is like trying to keep water from slipping through your fingers. The concept of a wind-proof pipe appeals to a lot of people, including investors looking for an entrance into the cannabis industry. In early February 2018, this tech-savvy pipe won $50,000 at the ArcView Group’s “Shark Tank”-like investor forum.
The $200 electric pipe removes the need for a lighter, contains a chargeable Li-ion battery, and can power 30 or more sessions when fully charged. Because it doesn’t use a flame, the ARC is wind-proof, making it an ideal solution for those who enjoy experiencing the outdoors with a little cannabis on the side.
Before cannabis was legal, getting your hands on some was shady business. You had to know someone who knew someone, and sometimes that someone was really far away, didn’t have what you needed, and charged too much even if they did.
When cannabis was legalized for medicinal use, this was still sort of how things worked. The industry functioned as if people seeking legal weed already knew where to get it and how much cash they needed to bring. The problem was that they didn’t.
Enter Dan Nelson, a medical marijuana patient frustrated by this lack of transparency. In 2014, the desire to empower cannabis consumers to make the most cost-effective decisions when purchasing their medicine led Nelson to launch Wikileaf, the first startup to allow users to compare nearby dispensary prices and menus.
Both the website and app are easy to navigate, and include information on different cannabis strains, news, and culture relevant to the novice and veteran cannabis consumer alike.
It has become abundantly clear that cannabis has the medical efficacy to treat an array of conditions. What is not so clear are the specifics, especially when it comes to strains and dosing. Patients and doctors experiment until they find something that works, but that can be a long process difficult to track.
PotBot makes it a little easier. The app generates research-backed recommendations meant to guide patients to strains with the right cannabinoid ratio for their specific ailment. It can also connect patients to dispensaries stocked with those strains as well as doctors authorized to provide medical marijuana cards.
In November 2017, Potbotics announced a partnership with the Blinc Group aimed at distributing the first smart vaporizer. The idea is to develop a device that could track a consumer’s cannabis use so that patients could determine the proper dose to treat their conditions. This kind of technology is sorely needed in an industry determined to demonstrate the legitimacy of cannabis’ use as medicine.
Because of the last eighty years of prohibition, a lot of cannabis growing intel has been passed down covertly and without any verification. Though cannabis has been cultivated for thousands of years, it feels brand new because this is the first time that the recreational use of the plant has been so widely used on a semi-legal basis. There is a plethora of cannabis knowledge out there, but it isn’t organized in a way that benefits the growing community as a whole.
GrowBuddy is a simple concept that remedies that complicated problem. It’s a digital grow journal that allows users to track every facet of their cultivation cycle anonymously. That data is available to other users and is aggregated to form a massive resource of information that professional and private growers can benefit from.