Angelique Moss

@angeliquemoss

Technological solutions help solve the glaring needs of the cannabis industry

October 24th 2018

The cannabis industry has become not just a booming business for consumers, but an increasingly ripe area for innovation through technology and other efficient solutions that can further simplify the process for consumers. With the increasing cultivation and distribution infrastructure already in place, these support services can play a vital role in simplifying the process for both suppliers and customers.

A wide variety of cannabis goods such as cannabidiol (CBD) products are available online through distributors such as PotNetwork Holdings, Inc. (OTCMKTS:POTN) and its subsidiary, Diamond CBD. CBD has become a highly popular segment in the market, and POTN provides various methods of consumption such as chewy gummies, vape additives, tinctures, and salves to accommodate the needs of their consumer base.

POTN distributes hemp-derived CBD products that have been all the rage in the sector, as the THC alternative provides various therapeutic benefits alongside with being non-psychoactive to cater to a wider and new customer base. This has helped CBD grow enormously as cannabis remains federally prohibited despite decreased regulations in several states.

While distribution and cultivation are critical for the continued growth of the market particularly as cannabis legislation continues to break ground in countries around the world, other services such as technological solutions will help the market reach new heights by facilitating access for convenience and efficiency.

Addressing needs

Just like any other industry, the cannabis sector needs a solid tech infrastructure to cater to the ever growing needs and demands of both cannabis businesses and customers. Effective technological solutions have helped address the relative confusion regarding cannabis legality issues as well as the fact that regulations can vary from state to state.

As cannabis is still a federally illegal substance, businesses in the sector are still denied access to banking services and are ineligible for tax benefits that standard operations would receive. There is certainly room for improvement in the sector, and tech has emerged as one of the leaders in this regard.

They play a large role in growing the still fledgling sector and providing assistance to ensure that businesses comply with regulations, while also helping manage massive amounts of data to account for products and specific supply chains through trackable services. By providing management data such as CRM, this can vastly enhance a company’s marketing efforts.

As standard solutions that are used for other industries don’t cater to cannabis businesses, CRMs like WebJoint have sprung into action in order to provide them with the data management and organizational services needed for businesses to adhere to legal regulations and compliances.

These are tricky enough to navigate on their own, and WebJoint provides various reporting features to assist business owners as well as through tracking capabilities for transparency. WebJoint helps retailers with managing inventory and delivery schedules as well for both online and in shop businesses, while also providing tax services as well.

Spreading the message

Advertising is another department that is difficult for cannabis operations to flourish in. Social media has become a very powerful tool to connect to customers around the world, but Google and Facebook are both known for being somewhat anti-cannabis. While they might allow for general discussion, advertisements are banned on many of the top traffic heavy websites.

While there aren’t any clear-cut rules, spending resources to create effective advertisements and marketing campaigns can be risky considering the plug can be pulled without a moment’s notice and for no apparent reason.

One response was to create a digital advertising network called Traffic Roots, which consists of hundreds of cannabis sites as well as thousands of others that are not directly related but are open to promoting various cannabis ads on their platforms. Unsurprisingly, the US represents 90.88% of entire global visits, with California accounting for 24.25%.

This enables the dispersal of cannabis ads to relevant demographics using a specific algorithm, displaying ads on various websites including those related to cannabis, healthy lifestyles, sports, and music. Traffic Roots also provide comprehensive statistics and valuable data to provide insights on global performance to further assist cannabis businesses in fine-tuning their approach to enhance revenue generation through ads.

“A lot of people talk about banking being an issue, but to have money coming into the bank you need to be able to advertise effectively,” Founder Christian Valdez said. “Before you have a banking problem you have an advertising problem.”

Software solutions like Traffic Roots cater to cannabis-related advertisements (Photo by Daniel Oines via Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

Startup support

The popularity of entrepreneurship has fueled a vast number of startups, with some going on to become household names such as Uber and Airbnb. Cannabis provides major appeal for startups who strive to provide effective solutions to cater to market needs and demands. However, every startup struggles in seed and growth phases, as they typically have precious few resources to work with initially.

That’s where Leaf Forward comes in as the very first cannabis business accelerator in Canada. Accelerators are a popular option for early-stage funding while also granting access to a diverse network of professionals and mentors who guide founders with promising new ventures.

Leaf Forward provides funding and workspaces to support new startups with limited resources while also running cannabis meetups for networking and learning opportunities. They also feature specialized boot camps for an intensive 4-day crash course on how to successfully develop a cannabis brand.

Their 3-month accelerator program shows new founders the tools of the trade, providing industry insights and experiences to promote rapid development for cannabis startups and preparing them for their investor pitch. For 6–10% of company equity, qualified startups are eligible to receive $35,000 in cash and an additional $15,000 of various services to further strengthen their foundation.

Accelerator programs are highly competitive as they feature professionals who have walked the path of entrepreneurship successfully and can bequeath invaluable advice to new startup founders. They will play a critical role in promoting new startups from the ground up, bolstering the cannabis infrastructure with renewed innovation and problem-solving solutions.

According to founder Alex Blumenstein, “There’s a lot of opportunities for startups in the marijuana industry outside of just cultivation. Currently, the industry is driven by licensed producers [government sanctioned weed cultivators] but it’s the technology, ancillaries and value-added products that will drive real rewards,” he says.

The cannabis industry has made major progress as it has become legalized in several parts of the world, and with the added support of effective technological solutions to promote transparency and compliance, future tech startups can help drive the sector to another level.

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