The legal cannabis market is estimated to be worth $145.4 billion by 2025, according to a report conducted by Grand View Research.
This budding industry’s rampant growth is fueled by rising public attitudes towards cannabis consumption and new technology designed to create more ways to utilize cannabis aside from smoking it.
The cannabis industry’s growth comes from many aspects of the business, but here’s a quick peek some of the ways that technology has shaped and will continue to develop the way this industry is conducted as legalization spreads to more states in the US.
1. Seed-To-Sale Tracking
For legal cannabis to be available in all 29 states that offer some form of marijuana distribution by law, a new system was needed to track the plant during its entire lifecycle. Cannabis distribution companies must adhere to strict regulations, which is why seed-to-sale tracking was born.
Seed-to-sale tracking assigns a barcode to a specific plant that can be scanned at every point in the plant’s growing process. The same barcode the dispensary scans to sell a pre-roll is the same barcode assigned to the plant at its grower’s farm when it was planted.
The benefits of this type of system mean the plant can be tracked with written records through every step of the process. It also allows better inventory management for dispensaries and growers, while providing built-in security.
2. Strain Analysis
The legalization of cannabis has turned the market into a connoisseur’s market, much like the craft brewing industry has revitalized alcohol sales. Recreational smokers now expect to know the exact THC and CBD content in the strains they’re buying, which has led to a surge in strain analysis laboratories.
Strain analysis will break down the percentage of cannabinoids present in any bud, including any terpene flavor profile that may give the flower a unique taste. Cannabis connoisseurs expect high-end products featuring lots of THC or CBD, depending on the product being sold. All states with legal status require cannabis that is sold to undergo a laboratory analysis to determine THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid levels. These analyses must be performed regardless of whether the product is fresh bud or edibles.
3. Medicinal Uses
While cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level; more biotech companies are looking into the health benefits of cannabis. CBD oils have had multiple studies conducted that prove the oil is an effective treatment for those who suffer from seizures, but more medical trials must be conducted as the industry grows.
The Schedule I classification is the primary speed bump for these companies, who are exploring how cannabidiol (CBD) could be useful to other medical applications like addressing obesity and osteoporosis. The full medicinal benefit of cannabis cannot be determined until this restriction is lifted, as the Schedule I classification scares away would-be investors and casts doubt on the budding industry’s stability long-term.
4. Consumption Methods
One of the biggest areas for growth in the cannabis industry is companies that focus on new methods of consumption. Smoking cannabis is the traditional method of consumption, but it is not the best vehicle for reaping the benefits of cannabis.
Vaping is one of the fastest-growing product categories in the cannabis market, with many different styles of vaporizer for consuming cannabis without directly combusting it. In fact, a marijuana delivery service in California has reported a steady decline in flower sales as vaporizers become more popular. Flower sales went from 75% of total sales in 2015 down to just 54% of total sales in 2016. Vape cartridges grew from just 6% in 2015 up to 24% in 2016.
Brett Pojunis Chairman and CEO
Brett H. Pojunis is the Chairman and CEO of MJ Venture Partners, Inc. (MJVP) and an active member of the board of directors of Player’s Network, Inc. (PNTV). PNTV is a publicly traded diversified holding company operating primarily in marijuana and media. PNTV is traded on the OTCQB exchange and has been a fully reporting publicly traded company since 1998.