Kristina Etter   |   June 29, 2019

Editor’s Choice: The Week in Cannabis & Hemp

While the industry is facing an uphill climb, we’re nearing the summit and gaining momentum.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

When I worked in mobile technology, I frequently joked, the reason I chose the mobile niche was that the technology was changing so fast, I knew I’d never grow bored. Most times, the technology you have in your hands at any particular moment, will be obsolete, or at the very least outdated, in about 6 months. While it may be hard to believe, the pace of growth and change in the cannabis industry is moving at lightspeed in comparison.

On Monday, we published A Tech Moment podcast with Michael Sassano, the founder of Solaris Farms, in Las Vegas. Leading up to that conversation, Mr. Sassano and I had difficulties getting our schedules to match up – either he was traveling, or I was elbow-deep in editorial work. Either way, I apologized for the problems with scheduling and how he replied, left me with a new perspective on the chaos. He said,  

“Don’t apologize for being busy. In this industry, we’re all busy, and that’s a good thing!”

He was right. Like “The Little Steam Engine That Could,” the cannabis and hemp industries have been building steam to climb what once felt like an insurmountable mountain. Yet, today, thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many pioneers in the field, the peak is now in view, and we’re starting to gain momentum.

Technology is Mainstreaming Cannabis

From seed to sale, compliance and tracking, and testing and analysis, technology is at the forefront of bringing the cannabis conversation into the limelight. Indeed, no one wants to be over-regulated and forced out of business, but at the same time – regulation, standards, and compliance bring a sense of transparency and integrity to a once illicit crop and help to ease the concerns posed by lawmakers and other authorities.

Here are a few examples of how technology is influencing the market and the industry:

  • Cannabis Extraction technologies improve the safety, efficacy, profile, and potency of cannabis and hemp concentrates.
  • Cultivation monitoring technologies improve yields, reduce costs, and reduce errors.
  • Testing and analysis technology help ensure consumer safety and accurate labeling.
  • Compliance and tracking technology provide increased transparency and integrity.
  • Data analysis and science is proving our theories and offering deep consumer insights.

In fact, the technology in the industry is also helping fuel cannabis journalism and bring valid industry topics to more mainstream channels. In years past, most cannabis news was only printed in industry magazines like High Times and Culture; however, with the legalization movement, cannabis headlines are starting to appear in household names like The New York Times and Forbes.

For example, this week on Forbes, a writer covered how big data and artificial intelligence are driving the industry to new heights. From product and yield improvement technologies, analysis of sales data, compliance, and even delivery services are using technological solutions to increase sales, boost yields, and learn more about their customer base.

Technology is Building Global Bridges

While the case for legalization in the US and across the globe lingers on, in many cases, it’s the technology which is helping to build connections across the oceans and around the world. Ancillary industries and opportunists are making strategic moves to ready themselves for the coming wave of acceptance.

A San Diego-based plant biotech company, ZeaKal, which uses agricultural technology based on New Zealand ag research, received $10 million in funding from Canadian venture capital fund, Canopy Rivers. Boosting the plant’s ability to perform photosynthesis, ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed technology could potentially increase cannabinoid production in hemp and cannabis.

Another North American investment firm, Nabis Holdings, Inc. based in Vancouver, recently acquired a 49 percent share of an Israeli cannabis company, Cannova Medical Ltd. The move signals Canada’s efforts to start importing global cannabis products. In an article in the Jerusalem Post, Omri Schanin, founder and CEO stated, “We are excited to work with the Nabis team leveraging their extensive experience and capabilities to help us reach our growth goals faster.”

We’re All in this Together

After spending 20 years in technology, I am painfully aware that change is rarely perceived as a good thing in the eyes of the masses. The evolution of the cannabis industry is no different. While technology, science, and innovation are undoubtedly changing the dynamic of historical cannabis culture, we cannot overlook the progress we’ve made in the path to legalization thanks to technological advances. Innovations in hemp and cannabis technology continue to build bridges not only to build a better marketplace but bridges which help change the perception of the herb – from illicit to accepted.

 

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