This summer, the Canadian government is expected to fully legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes across the country (but Bill C-45 more or less leaves it up to the provinces and territories to decide for themselves).
While this is certainly a groundbreaking moment, what really caught my attention was the Ontario government’s recent announcement of a deal with Shopify to conduct both online and in-store legal cannabis sales through its e-commerce platform.
This partnership with a Canadian unicorn is essentially a marriage made in heaven to help the government make some serious profit from selling legal weed. In fact, we are talking about some staggering numbers here.
According to Deloitte, the Canadian cannabis industry as a whole is expected to be worth a whopping $22.6 billion a year. That number covers everything from cannabis tourism, labs, production, retail, services, and beyond. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer projection, retail sales alone are expected to reach $2.1 to $2.3 billion a year.
This has given rise to the so-called “weedpreneurs” who are already racing to cash in right now. But not all of these startups are just focused on cultivation, rather they are trying to get a piece of the action by leveraging ancillary products, value-added products, and technology.
For this review, I am going to focus on promising “weed-tech” that are already engaged in innovation and attracting a lot of investment.
Toronto-based Ample Organics has been around for a while and is well known in the weed community for its successful seed-to-sale software. With this technology, growers can easily manage plant cultivation, purchases, and shipping.
Ample Organics is already the nation’s number one choice for licensed growers, so you can expect their market share to grow significantly this summer when everyone else jumps into the blackjack games.
As this industry evolves, you can expect more technologists to come up with new ways to help others in the industry navigate through strict regulations and find innovative ways to maximize this opportunity.
Cannabix Technologies, Inc.
With the legalization of cannabis, law enforcement will soon be faced with the prospect of policing even more people who decide to cruise high as a kite. That’s a gap in the market that was quickly identified by Cannabix Technologies, Inc.
The company is striving to effectively respond to this problem with their THC breathalyzer technology that can accurately detect cannabis impairment (just like the alcohol breathalyzer that’s used across the planet).
This product won’t be limited to law enforcement alone as it can also be used by employers who conduct on-the-job drug testing.
Greensteam Technologies aims to build a blockchain-based supply chain management platform. By leveraging the distributed ledger, the company hopes to bring transparency and integrity to all stakeholders from growers to retailers to government regulatory bodies.
By adding blockchain to the weed business, users can also benefit from enhanced security and cost savings currently enjoyed by industries like healthcare, logistics, and financial services.
However, they are not the only ones looking to cash in with the same business model, there’s also Budbo who are aiming to do more or less the same thing.
Growtronix is a startup leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) with their cannabis-related IoT-based software solution. Their offering essentially optimizes and automates cannabis grow rooms not only with software but also with IoT devices like their Growtronix Controllable Power Outlets.
With their mobile and web app, growers can access the following:
- Analytical charts and graphs that are synched with a grow room timer
- Customizable alerts (vis emails or texts)
- Long-term data storage
- Remote monitoring
- Seamless automation of the environment
- Sensor readings
- Time-lapse videos
Like Tinder connects like-minded singles, the High There! app aims to narrow it down to the stoner community. With over 150,000 users, the app matches singles based on the following:
- Dating preferences: stay in or go out?
- Munchies of choice
- Preferred method of ingestion
- Taste: Sativa or Indica
There are also more cannabis-themed pseudo apps like Massroots dubbed the “Instagram for Weed” which boasts over one million active users.
Then there’s Eaze which is known as “Amazon for Cannabis” or “Uber for Marijuana.” This app combines two different business models enable the seamless purchase and delivery of weed.
The company recently raised over $27 million in Series B financing, so you can be sure to hear from them going forward.
When you think of pot, data analytics is the last thing that comes to mind. However, it does exist and it’s going to play a significant role as the industry matures.
Knalysis takes the guessing out of determining the strain, quality, quantity, as well as the best mode of ingestion in the medical marijuana space.
With their cloud-based data analysis software, the startup provides real-world results directly from the patient to the grower through their patient mobile wellness tracker.
This also means that physicians and dispensaries are now able to depend on real-time data on different strains and how they work on different ailments. In other words, they will be able to rely on solid data instead of word of mouth recommendations (that can be unreliable).
There’s an opportunity here for the company to expand their offering when the bud gets fully legal and it will be interesting to see how their business model evolves.
Leafly is the “Yelp of weed” providing the same service for those in the dope game. This startup has plenty of potential and this is evidenced by the fact that it was one of the first in the reefer technology space to raise over a $100 million.
Leafly already attracts over 10 million unique visitors every month. Visitors use the platform to find dispensaries and products in the vicinity rate any or all of the following
- Weed related products
By leveraging the information provided by other users, it’s now easier for medical marijuana users to pick strains based on the symptoms they want to combat. It will even tell you if it’s a good idea to pair it with wine (and this can help smokers in the recreational space).
In 2018, we can certainly conclude that the world we live in is rapidly changing. I mean, I never thought I would be writing about weed in my IT storytelling career!
When an opportunity presents itself, it’s the first ones through the door that stand to gain the most. So you can expect the weed gold rush to intensify in the weeks and months to come.
If you have an innovative WeedTech idea and need help to rapidly build an MVP or find the best developers for your project, we can help! Get in touch with Digi117 now!