The US legal cannabis market in 2010 is projected to grow to almost $23 billion from a modest 2014 figure of $4.6 Billion—almost 31 per cent annual compound growth rate. This extraordinary growth can be attributed to more legislation that permits legal consumption of marijuana for recreation.
Technology has historically been minimally used in both production and marketing of cannabis, mainly due to legal implications. Today, IoT is changing the working of the cannabis industry by saving both resources and time by opening new frontiers of growth. IoT is going to change how the industry will be in the coming years as processes and legal concerns change.
Similar to the way investors are appreciating the value of investing in this fast growing industry, dealers are also noting the worth of implementing products that are connected to enhance market growth. Already, there are several companies that are taking advantage of technology in order to have a competitive advantage in this expanding industry.
Medical cannabis testing labs and pharmaceutical companies are quickly embracing the personalized medicine concept right from research and development all the way to commercializing. Now we not only have a whole range of security and agricultural technologies on the growing end of the plant, but also tools that range from APIs to dispensary robots helping in selling the product in ways that are transparent, convenient, and legally compliant.
The funds and efforts currently being channeled into the industry could fuel innovation, create jobs and boost tax revenue for the years ahead. Looking ahead, the innovations coming with the Internet of Things can take this industry to new frontiers not foreseen just a decade ago.
The Risk Element
The gradual infiltration of the Internet of Things into marijuana usage and selling is yet another important indicator of pot’s normalization. However, much as the entry of IoT is welcome in the industry, cannabis consumers should at least be conversant with some of its risks.
For businesses and consumers operating in states that still have heavy regulation, the main priority will, of course, be security. For instance, the “always-on” kind of connectivity offered by IoT through connected devices and apps comes with a new set of potential targets for cybercrime and data exposure. Certainly, both consumers and businesses will not be exempt from the threat.
Marijuana growing areas can now be easily locatable and geo-tracked just by virtue of an interested party checking into what a seller or user has posted on Facebook or Instagram through their Smartphone. IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to being exploited through hacking.
The legal cannabis market has huge potential for investors and companies that are willing to plunge in and take the risks. IoT has made its entry into the industry, and cannabis consumption and marketing is not likely to ever be the same again. Technology is making it possible for the adoption of capabilities and processes that have for many years been standard in the retail world into cannabis consumption and business. As the industry matures and grows, that trend is likely to become stronger.