Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Is The Tech World Finally Accepting The Marijuana Industry?

With the generous geographical overlap Silicon Valley shares with the Bay Area and their pre-legalization embrace of marijuana, it should be much more apparent how the tech industry is involved in the burgeoning sector. Due to much corporate taboo, it’s not so simple to fish out the ways in which the federally prohibitive climate may be shifting in the Bay Area and other technological havens that play such a large role in our digital daily lives.

What is it about the cannabis industry that is bringing people with tech expertise or pursuits into the fold? Questions that will help illuminate the path from one major industry to this smaller but potentially groundbreaking one can help anyone looking to make the jump can use.

Cannabis’ true potential can only be unlocked when it’s fully legal, free of taboos, and companies can put money into cannabis based innovation that extends past intoxication and capital that it’s getting today.

Weasked three cannabis CEOs about their connections to tech as a company and as an industry, and this is what they said.

Steve Albarran, CEO and Co-founder of Confident Cannabis literally creates cannabis industry tech. They aim to create safe, efficient, and effective software to help growers, patients, and retail operations. He says that tech is a big part of breaking the taboo down for good, “The tech industry gets it. More than any other sector, tech operators, investors. and thinkers understand the obvious benefits of ending cannabis prohibition and the opportunity it represents. Not surprisingly, the people responsible for building our future are a lot less shackled by old stigmas.”

Patrick Rea, CEO and Co-founder of Canopy Boulder, talks about how investment and growth tools can legitimize this sector rapidly, which it desperately needs with such piecemeal legality. He tells The Fresh Toast, “The fact that the legal cannabis industry is still in its infancy, combined with its risk-tolerant nature, makes a great breeding ground and incubator for new technologies. With almost no current infrastructure, the opportunities for businesses and technologies within the space are endless. In almost any other industry areas like HR, marketing and data have long been established by large corporations; this is not so within cannabis.”

Continuing to describe the benefit of tech and corporate knowledge in this space, Rea says, “In cannabis, federal prohibition has acted as a deterrent for many large, established competitors, giving young cannabis tech companies space to refine business models, build customers bases and, ultimately, become more valuable potential acquisitions.

Having a tech background in cannabis is just as important in this industry as any other. The industry moves so quickly, with regulations changing constantly, and has so many unfamiliar elements that to enter the space without background in the application of those technologies could be fatal.”

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Innovation is the key to revolutionizing cannabis’ potential, according to PotBotics CEO David Goldstein, “To be an innovator you have to consider how to create a truly revolutionary product while pushing your industry forward. The cannabis industry, from its inception, has always been trying to overcome the issues associated with the difficulty to accurately describe, dose, and prescribe marijuana. As more research is being conducted on cannabis, it has become increasingly clear that large discrepancies exist within the naming and identification of strains. This variability in strains as well as variability in consumption methods creates an unideal situation for further growth of the industry. In order to grow, the cannabis industry desperately needs the assistance provided by new and emerging technology.”

His company took the concepts of tech and applied them to the physical act of cannabis consumption, an important leap forward for anyone interested in using cannabis to its full potential, “At PotBotics, we knew we needed to create something different that could provide a new type of consumer experience with vaping – one aimed at breaking down the past barriers of cannabis use and understanding while at the same time advancing the science of cannabis medicine for physicians and patients alike.

This led us to develop RYAH, a smart-dose vaporizer that allows users to control everything from the temperature to the amount of vapor they’d like to inhale while collecting anonymous, HIPAA-compliant consumer data that provides new insights about the therapeutic properties of medical cannabis.”

These green bosses are making moves to take the best of tech and apply it to what is much more than a farming industry. Cannabis has the potential to create jobs, something previously attributed to tech more readily, and its high time we stop ignoring the implications of applying technology and its skilled thinkers to the future of this plant.

Photos: Maria Penaloza


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