Pending legalization across the United States, the marijuana business could blossom into a $45 billion industry.
Even more exciting, though are the ways in which technology is changing the future of mary jane. From smartphone apps to greenhouse technology, here are four ground-breaking innovations in cannabis.
1. Social networks for smokers
420-friendly Facebook? It’s a thing.
Founded in 2013, MassRoots has about 625,000 users who connect with each other on the social network as “buds.” Company COO Dan Hunt said its main features include: “sharing cannabis experiences, finding like-minded people to smoke with, and staying up to date with local dispensaries.” In 2014, Apple kicked MassRoots off the App Store, but later reinstated the platform after it reconfigured its geo-restrictions to limit use only in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal.
Meanwhile, for cannabis professionals, LeafList is a network that isn’t purely for socializing. Engineered by Green Lion Partners, the Colorado-based “reputation management and professional networking tool” aims to be the LinkedIn of the cannabis industry. LeafList equips its members with a rating system to help them make safe and smart choices when screening potential business partners. While it’s publicly available yet, the tool will eventually “offer a unique method of communicating requests for new investments, entrepreneurial partnerships, and media interactions within the [cannabis] community.”
Jeffrey Zucker, cofounder of Green Lion Partners, told NTRSCTN that his firm prioritizes “integrity in the businesses [GLP] partners with,” and said resources like LeafList will help cannabis professionals operate with a sense of legitimacy.
2. Greenhouse tech for sustainable and organic smoking options
As marijuana becomes legally and culturally acceptable, greener green is quickly becoming an industry priority.
For instance, Green Lion Partners’ first company, Natural Order Supply, is a one-stop e-shop for cultivators looking to grow their crops in an environmentally friendly way. But cannabis-centric businesses aren’t the only ones contributing to the sustainable evolution of regulated marijuana.
Ambient Water Corp.—which has historically used its clean-water technology in fracking, household drinking supplies, and more—recently started developing highly efficient greenhouses for legal-marijuana cultivation. The company reportedly partnered with BW Global Structures Inc., which uses technology that helps each plant get more exposure to light; this, in turn, increases the weed’s yield and quality. BW Global initially tried its technology on tomatoes, which actually have a lot in common with marijuana—beyond that bowl of pasta you ordered off Seamless the last time you blazed.
3. Pot-on-demand services
Have a craving for something specific? Unfortunately, most weed-delivery services focus more on getting pot to you, and less on the caliber or variety of their product.
Enter: GreenRush, the self-proclaimed Seamless of pot. Instead of operating purely as a delivery service, the company partners with dispensaries that have their own delivery personnel. Dispensaries can sign up for free, and upload their inventory—just like a restaurant would upload its menu—and are charged a fee of 5 to 10 percent per sale. By choosing from a list of products they know to be safe and enjoyable, GreenRush’s approach allows users to be as selective about what they smoke as they are about what they eat.
4. CBD extraction to get pharmaceutical-grade cannabis
Like it or not, legalization and regulation means that it’s only a matter of time until Big Pharma stakes its claim in the weed industry. In fact, it already has.
Developed by GW Pharmaceutical in 2012, Epidiolex is a liquid formulation of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. By the summer of 2015, it was already on the FDA Fast Track to treat pediatric epilepsy, and results are expected any day now. Whether you consider yourself a friend or foe of Big Pharma, this sort of government acceptance is game-changing for smokers who toke for medical reasons.
The proliferation of CBD products, developed by Big Pharma or otherwise, will also help democratize and destigmatize marijuana use at large. As Zucker noted, “CBD products are leading the way for people that otherwise wouldn’t have considered cannabis.”
via: Complex.com (Julia Reiss)
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