Technology is everywhere today, transforming the customary ways of doing things in numerous domains. People are used to tech-enabled shopping, education, home environment control, and the cultivation of plants. Cutting-edge innovations have paved their way into everything people do for pleasure and business, simplifying and automating most operations.
The cannabis growing and sales industry also doesn’t lag behind other sectors, adopting technological advancements and benefitting from the ease and comfort high-tech gives. AI use in cultivation and sales operations, genome sequencing at the service of ideal strain design, and advanced online sales technologies – all these gains move the industry forward and connect businesses with interested clients.
But is the real tech progress that beneficial for the weed business? What pressures do the manufacturers face in the industry, and how can they cope with those issues? Here is a brief review prepared by AskGrowers experts to introduce you to the dark side of technology in the weed business.
Technological Issues to Address
Technology adoption never comes without downsides. Not all people are fine-tuned to safe tech use, and many of them have only basic digital literacy. As a result, they fall prey to hackers and fraudsters who use digital resources’ vulnerabilities to steal data and money. Here are the most pressing issues the cannabis industry currently experiences in the digital domain.
No industry is immune to data breaches today, as many websites contain critical loopholes and vulnerabilities exploited by criminals. The cannabis industry players are exceptionally vulnerable in this regard, as weed cultivation, sale, and distribution are strictly regulated by state authorities. Thus, losing any client data or information about your products’ origination is a direct path to severe fines or even business closure. For this reason, weed businesses with an offline and online presence should invest heavily in their cybersecurity measures and hire expert IT professionals to keep their sensitive data intact.
Growing Payment Decentralization
Cryptocurrencies come as another source of headache for cannabis industry participants. On the one hand, they offer a handy and flexible decentralized financial instrument for payment processing that cannot otherwise be done via usual banks. Several coins were generated specifically for weed-related transactions – CannabisCoin and PotCoin.
On the other hand, cryptocurrencies are banned in the USA, and crypto processing lacks consistent regulation on the state and federal levels. Besides, the crypto market is the one with significant currency rate fluctuations, which puts weed users at risk of losing money on unfavorable cryptocurrency rates. Therefore, this field of payment processing is yet at the germinal stage of development, with more regulatory and organizational arrangements to come.
The weed businesses are placed in a very shaky position in their e-commerce activities. Any marketing or promotional campaign they launch is like walking on the thin line of legality. For example, there is a strict ban on weed advertising of any kind, so companies should stick to purely informational posts and content to ensure legal compliance.
Another issue e-commerce players encounter is the paradox of state and federal legislation. Many states have legalized weed for medical and recreational purposes, while the drug is still illegal on the federal level. Therefore, there is a problem with accepting online payments for CBD-containing products; U.S. banks are federally regulated and cannot process payments for acquiring a federally banned, illicit drug.
The weed-growing business is one of the fastest-growing markets in the USA, the one with the greatest percentage of new jobs created every year. However, these new jobs are far from the traditional perception of a plant worker caring for the growing hemp plants. The cultivation process gets increasingly automated, with complex IoT systems and advanced AI algorithms ruling each step.
This change is beneficial in terms of productivity involvement and reduced reliance on human forces. Yet, it is a costly change that not every small and medium business can afford to handle. Therefore, the speed of automation will likely cause innovative challenges for firms in the weed growing industry and become an unprecedented competitive advantage in this sector.
Which Technologies Move the Sector Forward?
The pace of tech progress is really fast in the weed business, and all companies are forced to comply with it. Though weed sales are still a cash-only business, and consumers cannot use credit cards to pay for their purchases, the whole lifecycle of weed growth and manufacturing is undergoing a rapid transformation.
If the change is not seen as a threat to human jobs, it opens up many possibilities, such as real-time customer analytics, robust cybersecurity measures, and full customization of weed-growing conditions. Future promises of the science include genetic engineering of strains with a specific set of properties and AI-based analysis of customer needs for maximum efficiency of the distribution business.
Thus, as one can see, technology brings positives and negatives to the weed business, making small and large companies keep pace with the dynamic changes for survival.