Karhlyle Fletcher   |   April 14, 2020

Technologies Helping Keep Cannabis Productive

While the world faces shutdowns and economic stoppages, the cannabis industry remains one of the select industries to continue operations. Through delivery services, mobile ordering, automation, and diversified demand, cannabis exists as a versatile and resilient industry.
A passionate Detroit local, Karhlyle works everyday to establish ethical access to information on the national and city level. Medical, as well as technical research, is a driving passion of his, but he is also a published fiction author,…

Ordering Technology from Delivery to Pick Up

Throughout the COVID-19 quarantine, cannabis sales have been up, despite the interior of stores closing to limit contact. Online interfaces privately offered by many centers, such as Mankind in San Diego, have simplified the process so that customers only come by once their order is ready for pick up. Other companies, like Leafly and Weedmaps, offer online ordering through their websites for several cannabis centers. 

Cannabis delivery services throughout the world have also been servicing customers from the comfort of their own house, offering no contact delivery. Several of the online ordering platforms allow for delivery. This flexibility has proven to be a key feature in the survivability of the cannabis industry. 

Currently, limiting contact and activity is the strategy for getting through this emergency. Technologies that allow for less in-person interaction prove to be a powerful tool in the essential cannabis industry. As the virus spreads person to person, it’s vital to maintain social distance when at all possible. 

Automated Equipment Saves Farmers from Sickness

A 26 percent reduction in labor costs through the automation of cannabis farms reflects a decrease in labor required. If remote greenhouse monitoring can be achieved through an automated network, then working through the quarantine becomes much more manageable. There’s never been a time where a decrease in labor demands could be more appreciated, as close-knit groups of people operate many cannabis farms. Such groups are unlikely to introduce each other to a novel disease due to their consistency of interaction. Additionally, automated operations require less attention and so less time on sight.

Such technology allows extraneous staff to work from home on other aspects of the business while only those that are necessary to operate the farm go in. Adopters of automation will also enjoy the lower overhead to get through this trying period. With up to 42% savings on harvests, automation could be the investment that saved a few businesses. 

Technology Can Also Address Larger Supply Chain Issues 

Companies like Confident Cannabis already offer platforms to connect buyers and sellers of wholesale cannabis in states like Oregon. Such transactions are done on an online marketplace operating within the state to supply the local industry with cannabis. Further supporting and integrating these platforms into the business would enable further limitation of contact during sales. 

While the emergency continues, compassion demands a well-maintained cannabis supply chain. Although there will always be problems, using technology to create as smooth a marketplace as possible will allow access to the highest amount of people.

Hemp Plastics are Rising to the Occasion

Unfortunately, in cities across America, thousands of units of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as plastic gloves and facemasks, are being thrown away in the middle of public spaces. While these products may help limit exposure to contamination, they are seldom biodegradable. This is where hemp-based plastic has an opportunity to shine.

“What we as cannabis plastic producers need to be focused on right now are single-use products with short working lives, and which require frequent use per day,” Tarek Moharram, Founder and President of Moharram Ventures Inc. told Cannabis Tech. Moharram Ventures Inc. is currently developing Truly Green Plastic, a biodegradable cannabis plastic. ”That’s why we’re targeting PPE; it meets all the criteria. Healthcare professionals that are wearing PPE should be changing it frequently because it doesn’t continue to function as effectively in the seventh hour as it does in the first. Once used, it generally needs to be destroyed. It’s a perfect opportunity.” 

We are morally obligated to start stocking up on PPE so that we can protect the people in this country who are trying to take care of our society. However, that doesn’t mean plastic waste has to be a necessary byproduct. Through this innovation in hemp plastic, biodegradable PPE is available for production; however, it requires investment in order to scale up. The medical industry’s access to funding could be the perfect catalyst for pushing forward the implementation of biodegradable plastics. Also, for cannabis industry players, what better opportunity to successfully weather this storm than by creating a revenue stream from what was once just a waste product and destruction cost center?  The benefits are clear, especially during this emergency.

An Unprecedented Milestone

It’ll never be all sunshine and roses. Supply chain issues may still become severe, and the economy needs to recover from this event. Some people within the cannabis industry have been laid off, and some companies are struggling. No industry is immune at this time, but it’s remarkable to note that cannabis has more ability to operate right now than the sports industry.

In all seriousness, the cannabis industry is an amazing one. Throughout this crisis, from concentrate companies supplying hand sanitizer to fight the crisis to cannabis centers keeping working-class people employed, the cannabis industry showed up. The technology behind it allows it some luxuries, such as the ability to limit contact while maintaining operations, and proves the flexibility of a lucrative industry.

 

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