As cannabis policies in the U.S. change, what was once a strictly underground business is now becoming increasingly legitimate and mainstream—and the industry is absolutely booming as a result.
In North America, marijuana sales totaled almost $7 billion in 2016, with an astonishing 30% growth rate. And that growth is not set to slow down any time soon. By 2021, North American sales are projected to top $20.2 billion.
As more and more states push for legalization, technology will prove to be an essential part in this rapidly growing industry. This means unprecedented opportunities are being created for tech companies and investors looking to enter the market. Currently there are huge gaps waiting to be filled by those who are forward-thinking and innovative enough to realize this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
There is a crucial need for software and apps to aid the staggering number of cannabis businesses popping up across North America. One such example is LeafLink, a platform designed to streamline orders, sales, and relationship management for dispensaries and leading cannabis brands.
Ryan Smith, Co-Founder/CEO of LeafLink, explains why this new and thriving industry is so unique:
“Cannabis is one of the very few industries born in a time of technology. At LeafLink, our software is defining, not disrupting, b2b wholesale ordering in the industry because there are no preconceived notions of how business is done. This means that there is enormous potential for software to scale cannabis companies at a rate faster than we’ve seen in many markets, which is especially exciting to investors and industry leaders alike.”
MassRoots is one of the leading technology platforms that helps medical patients discover the best cannabis strains and products. They have already grown to have over one million users. With the expanding marijuana markets, this number will surely continue to rise.
Another interesting app that recently developed is PotBot, an app that aids medical marijuana patients in deciding which strain is best for their specific ailments. It then helps find the nearest dispensary that supplies such strains.
The cannabis industry is highly unconventional, resulting in a need for technology that is also just as unique.
“As with any new industry, innovation and technology is a necessity to enable the industry to solve some of their fundamental problems and create efficiency. In other industries that are not so highly regulated and unique, companies can often purchase off-the-shelf software that can serve some of the basic needs. In cannabis, we have seen that off-the-shelf software rarely is suitable for the industry and its needs,” explains Marion Mariathasan, CEO of Simplifya, a compliance tool for licensees, allowing canna-entrepreneurs to audit their businesses and ensure they’re in compliance with the specific regulations that apply to their licenses in their jurisdictions.
There are countless ingenious tech innovations that are growing out of this new industry, and we can expect to see the number of weed-related software and applications continue to rapidly rise. As this once-taboo plant evolves into a mainstream commodity, it looks like cannabis technology businesses and their investors have a very prosperous road ahead.