Gone are the days when marijuana and cannabis were just confined to the Rastafarian gang and the streets of Amsterdam. Science has started to give this plant, or rather, this wonderful leaf the credibility and recognition it deserves. Hemp-based products have been recognized as cures for a lot of diseases and medical ailments. It is expected that medical marijuana could be a breakthrough for a lot of medical complications that were, until now, considered invincible.
A lot of countries and some states within a few countries have legalized the use of marijuana. Some of them have even extended the legality of marijuana use for recreational purposes. However, in most cases, the medical use of marijuana/cannabis has been increasingly recognized and legalized. In all of this, it cannot be denied that it has its notorious reputation as a drug and is subject to a lot of black market transactions and on the dark web. To ensure that everything stays transparent, regulated, and accountable, regulatory bodies have started to use technology to assist in this endeavor.
Technology in agriculture
The influence of technology in the cannabis market does not start in the territory of transactions. It starts right at the cultivation level. With the growing legal recognition, farmers have adopted new technologies to grow the plant in better conditions and increase the harvest without compromising on the quality.
LED lights have been employed by farmers to aid in the growth of healthy cannabis. It is reported that 47% of cannabis farming relies on artificial lighting. In addition to that, cloud technology has been effectively used to remotely monitor the growth of indoor plants at every stage.
Tissue culture, which is essentially cloning small plants in sterile environments, has seen its increased adoption in Canada. The United States has rejected this idea because of the exorbitant cost and cumbersome process.
Smartphones and cannabis
Smartphones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. The cannabis market cannot be an exception to this golden rule. There are smartphone apps that are dedicated to the cannabis market and it is a sound representation of the growing acceptance and legality.
There are apps that act as a bridge between employers and job seekers in the cannabis industry. There are apps that direct adult consumers to licensed dispensaries to ensure that they do not consume unsafe marijuana for medical purposes. There are even applications that act as knowledge bases. There is an app called Lift that gives deep information on strains and the different medical uses. They have even gone to the extent of conducting annual trade shows in Canada.
Be it medical or recreational, any legal service can have an on-demand dimension. The glory of on-demand business has rightly been proved by Uber, and it might not be long before there is an Uber for cannabis. As the number of countries accepting cannabis for medical use starts to grow, there will be a proportional growth for the need for an on-demand app for medical cannabis delivery. If an aspiring entrepreneur were to start an Uber-like cannabis delivery business, it will not only enhance the industry but will also help in terms of accountability and transparency.
It is quite evident that an industry that has just made its transition from being in the cloud of illegality to the light of legality is bound to experience a lot of fraudulent transactions. The cannabis industry, in spite of all the legal support, is considered one of the riskiest by traditional banks. To counter this perception, financial technology has evolved to accommodate blockchain technology and cashless transactions for cannabis trading.
In Canada, there are platforms that are poised to create a seamless payment experience for both customers and companies dealing with medical cannabis. It has evolved so much that it has given rise to a term called “marijuana banking.” Artificial intelligence has also come into play in helping providers grow plants more efficiently and bringing essential information. Learning from growth patterns all over the world also brings better methods of cultivation.
There are about 13 countries where medical use of marijuana is legal but recreational use is not. On the contrary, there are about 19 countries where medical use of marijuana is illegal but recreational use of marijuana is unregulated. When it comes to the medical use of plants, it has always been quite chaotic. The Indian school of medicine called Ayurveda relies a lot on plants and plant parts but is considered quite unorganized by the western school of medicine. On the other hand, we have also looked at a time when tobacco was looked at as a medically acceptable plant and cigarettes were sold in hospitals at the bedside.
Sometimes, it takes time for science to establish a commercial presence even if the research has proved the benefits. The economic and social dimensions of the product have to be taken into consideration and this is exactly the junction where marijuana/cannabis is sitting right now. It might take time for all the countries to realize its medical value and even more time for the countries to regulate the recreational use of marijuana.
In all of this, it is only the growth of technology that can help in adding the magnitude of regulation. Bringing in artificial intelligence and blockchain can help in reducing the risk of illegal marijuana being consumed. Technology has assisted in regulating a lot of activities around the world, and cannabis should not be an exception to the transformation and orderliness that tech can bring about!