With the legal cannabis market hitting its stride, it’s no wonder that more and more ancillary sectors are sprouting up to support it. One sector that’s been growing side by side with the industry is the tech sector. Innovative tech startups and companies are now engaging with and attracting customers, and generally redefining the way business is done in the marijuana industry.
As the mindset around cannabis is changing with many regarding it as just another product, it’s no surprise that customers now have new expectations for the product they use. They want to purchase their preferred edibles, strains and oils conveniently, whether through dispensaries or apps which provide delivery services on-demand. The end customer isn’t the only client that’s being catered to by the tech industry either.
Cannabis entrepreneurs and budtenders are also exhibiting a growing reliance on platforms that provide marketing automation and customer relationship management. This allows them to keep their customers engaged and loyal, manage their books and keep track of their products’ catalogs. Manufacturers, too, are benefitting from the tech explosion, as they account for their plants and products, and ensure compliance through seed-to-sale systems.
All of that is simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovative tech and apps within the context of the cannabis industry. Let’s have a look at some of the top companies that have been combining tech and cannabis with exciting results.
Eaze and GreenRush
“Uber for cannabis” is the mantra of quite a few startups that want to deliver marijuana directly to the end customer. But there are really only two companies that live up to the hype: Eaze and GreeRush. These two apps partner with local dispensaries, hiring drivers and coordinating deliveries quickly and reliably. On GreenRush, customers can browse the products available at local dispensaries, order what they want and have the delivery made directly to their address. However, this app is only available in 5 cities in California currently. Eaze, which is also California-based, caters to customers who have been prescribed medical marijuana. It’s known to make deliveries in just ten to twenty minutes. The app is available in more than 100 cities, and Eaze also allows Californians to get their medical marijuana card made in roughly 10 minutes over the phone.
When it comes to seed-to-sale tech, Flowhub has carved out a place in the market all for itself. Its proprietary integrated hardware and software platform allows clients to manage their compliance and inventory, all the way from the growth facilities to POS in retail dispensaries. The app complies with regulations state-by-state, and also helps budtenders manager their products and discounts, as well as generate reports and data visualizations.
There are plenty of social networks catering to the cannabis community, but MassRoots easily rules the roost as the largest and most well-known. The community of more than a million users can use either the website or the app to post content, make friends with fellow cannabis lovers and search for dispensaries and strains. What’s more, MassRoots also has a platform focusing on dispensaries, which manages online ordering and menu updates.
New Frontier Data and Headset
In 2018, any company that wants to succeed needs to be data-oriented. New Frontier Data is one of the few companies that does market research on cannabis. It does custom research and publishes regular analysis reports. It also has a real-time data platform named Equio, which manages sales, social media and inventory.
Another up and coming data platform is Headset, from the founders of well-known strain and dispensary database Leafly. With apps for the desktop, mobile and tablet, customers can benefit from market insights and real-time sales data and reporting. From growers to retailers to dispensaries, marijuana business owners can optimize their inventory even as they stay updated on the latest industry and brand trends.
The device of choice for home growers, Seedo is a home-growing kit that allows you to build a self-contained ecosystem, complete with internal HD cameras to monitor the growth, LED lighting and more. The device comes with an app that allows you to choose a strain to grow. Once you’ve planted the seed inside the Seedo basin, you won’t have to open the device until harvest time has arrived. Around the size of a small fridge, this is an extremely easy-to-use, do-it-yourself package.
The therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis have been a subject of much research. In that vein, Ehave, a mental health data organization, has launched a version of its services catering to medical cannabis. In collaboration with Canadian medical cannabis producer MedReleaf, Ehave aims to track the effect of medical marijuana on the mental health of its patients. The company also wishes to prove or disprove the effectiveness of medical marijuana for different ailments. Ultimately, its goal is to establish well-researched treatment guidelines for different marijuana therapies.
Cannabis has a banking problem. The single greatest hurdle in the way of many cannabusinesses is their inability to convince traditional banks to give them a loan. Many of these businesses can’t even set up an account with their bank! This issue has been taken up by quite a few enterprising fintech companies, with MTRAC (short for MoneyTrac Technology) being a particularly interesting one. The company has stated its goal to be “bank the unbankable”. They aim to do so using quite a few different products. One of these involves installing a kiosk at dispensaries so customers can easily make cashless payments using a permissioned blockchain at the retail store. MTRAC also has its own cryptocurrency, called MTRAC-TOKEN. The company is also in the process of developing a consumer wallet app that should be available soon for both Android and iOS.