There is a growing demand for cannabis in North America and growers are struggling to keep up. Those in the retailing business in Alberta, Canada are already having trouble keeping up and it has only been days since the legalization of recreational marijuana. Those in the U.S. are not facing the same problem yet but if the Senate makes progress towards amending the federal law on cannabis substances, then growers and retailers will be put on the same spot.
Since the industry is going through massive changes, technological advancements are beginning to play an important role in the daily operations of growers and retailers. Technology is being used for an array of purposes including supply chain management, e-commerce guidance and even artificial intelligence in the production process.
The U.S. does not share Canada’s open-mindedness when it comes to cannabis users. Online outlets are still the preferred stores of U.S. cannabis users. The most recent data suggests that marijuana purchasing resulted in Google search increase by as much as 199 percent. That number translates to 2.4 million cannabis buying searches in the U.S. in June 2017.
Online cannabis markets allow users to buy consumers to buy products discreetly. Even better is that the products are delivered to their doorsteps in a few days or so. In the supply chain, companies use the solution to monitor their products so that they are able to regulate stocks in a timely manner.
E-commerce is playing a crucial role in the development of the cannabis market in terms of accessibility. This will be a key benefit that comes with technology as it improves the overall consumer experience. Government agencies are even employing the help of major online retailers such as Shopify to further improve their local cannabis market.
The online shop has been tasked with being the leader of online cannabis distribution within Ontario, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia. These provinces have varying laws when it comes to marijuana distribution. Some of the regions allow private businesses only, while others require retailers to acquire licenses beforehand. Thanks to Shopify’s dynamic cloud system, they are able to alter their services depending on the needs of the consumer.
Technology is obviously a good complement for the retailer’s end of the marijuana but changes must be made at the bottom of the chain as well. As the demand for marijuana and hemp increases, growers must take up solutions that would allow them to grow the plants easier and with better results.
Further down the supply chain
Aside from helping with the retail aspect, Shopify is also working with Ample Organics Inc., to improve its seed-to-sale cannabis software in Canada. Ample Organics’ solution is a compliance software that can track the growth of cannabis crops up until they reach the retail end. This ensures quality from all sides of the spectrum.
Seed-to-sale solutions essentially create a network between retailers and growers but that is all it does. In terms of helping grow more crops, cultivators have to rely on other technologies instead. For this task, they have to look towards the direction of many AgTech companies stepping up with unique solutions to offer.
Smart Cannabis Corp. (OTCMKTS:SCNA) recently announced SMART Micro Boiler product line is created to remedy low cannabis yields. The product comes in at a perfect time as the cool weather limits the nutrients that are absorbed by cannabis roots. In essence, the product allows growers to get consistent crop yields all throughout the year.
It will be best partnered with the SMART Soil Heater that systematically warms the plot of land the cultivator chooses. Like with the lot of SCNA’s products, the SMART Micro Boiler and the SMART Soil Heater are integrated into the SMART App. This allows cultivators to remotely manage their lands using their smartphone.
Such technologies will be useful in the northern region of the U.S. and especially in Canada. Similar to most crops, cannabis plants are vulnerable during the cold weather but marijuana is far more sensitive compared to hemp. Marijuana is best grown in controlled climates but for best results, warm temperatures are recommended.
Cannabis markets have to make major adjustments if they want to keep up with the industry’s growing popularity. Although things have changed a lot in the past months, we can expect more solutions and technological advancements to emerge. It will be exciting to see what lies ahead for growers and retailers in the coming months.