Now that cannabis is becoming legal or decriminalized across the world at a rapid pace, the demand is rising. That’s why businesses are carving out niches for themselves in the nascent industry. From dispensaries offering a range of marijuana products for recreational use to drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens selling cannabidiol (CBD), cannabis has become a huge part of mainstream culture.

Newsweek projected that CBD sales alone would hit $23 billion over the next four years. Clearly, there is opportunity to be had in the cannabis industry. As the industry grows, businesses are exploring new ways of producing, marketing, and testing their products, often turning to innovative software and other technologies for solutions.
Cultivation
Technology is impacting the very way cannabis is grown, whether for personal use or commercially. Now, for example, consumers can purchase grow boxes to cultivate plants at home.

One business taking advantage of this trend is Seedo. The company offers automated grow boxes that are powered by artificial intelligence. Through computer-vision algorithms and machine learning, along with lighting systems, you can grow plants with minimal intervention. You can also monitor aspects of the plants’ growth through the app, which allows you to view and alter water levels and analyze the plants’ progress.

Not only does the device account for features like climate and lighting, but it also increases the yield and speed at which marijuana plants can grow. You can use the hermetically-sealed box for other plants, too, including herbs and vegetables.

Sale, purchase, and distribution
Thanks to the legalization of cannabis in many areas, vendors are now able to conduct transactions above board. Businesses can use platforms such as Shopify to make sales online, via an app, or in-person. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach enables cannabis vendors to use data generated by sales to asses consumer patterns and make decisions about services and products they should be providing, product performance, and more.

Technology also improves the delivery process. Apps such as Weedmaps are enabling consumers to locate delivery services, along with dispensaries and more. Eaze is another app that allows consumers to find products and have them delivered to their homes. In the future, we may see businesses increasingly leverage different technologies to enhance their transaction and distribution processes.
Consumer engagement
Engaging consumers is an important part of marketing any product, and new tools are allowing businesses to enhance the experience and protect consumers simultaneously. For example, TruTrace leverages Big Data for multiple purposes. It uses a database that allows both businesses and consumers to track different cannabis strains to find out information about their laws and history, and a review service that enables users to rate and comment on various strains.

Both tools can assist companies in engaging customers and growing their business. For example, they might link to the tool on product pages their websites so users can quickly read up on strains they’re considering purchasing, verifying that the plant is legal in their area and learning about the quality of the product they’re considering buying.
Education
Technology is presenting new opportunities for businesses to educate employees and consumers about cannabis, too. For example, Canada-based NexTech AR Solutions Corp. is partnering with Cannvas Medical Inc to offer kiosks equipped with augmented reality (AR) technology. Through these kiosks, consumers can find information about the possible benefits of medical and recreational cannabis.

Training efforts can also be enhanced through technology. Through apps such as Green Flower, staff can learn about cultivation, compliance and regulation, how cannabis affects the body, and more.

There are even institutions dedicated to educating people about cannabis. Oaksterdam University, established in 2007 in Oakland, California, boasts a status as “America’s first cannabis college.” In addition to offering programs out of a brick-and-mortar facility, the unaccredited institution has an array of online courses.

Opportunities are only growing in the world of cannabis. As it becomes increasingly mainstream, we’ll see more and more ways in which businesses are using technology to improve the way they grow, sell, distribute, and promote their products. Companies are also likely to create new types of products thanks to software, AI, AR/VR, and other technologies and engage prospective and current consumers in a range of innovative ways.

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Author's Bio: 

Malcom is a tech expert at BairesDev specializing in the software outsourcing industry. He has access to the latest market news and has a keen eye for innovation and what's next for technology businesses