The last few years have been a game-changer for the cannabis industry now that more states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal uses. With the expansion comes more cannabis operators breaking into the industry seeing the explosive growth and opportunities it promises without realizing all that comes with compliance and growing a successful cannabis business. They soon learn, however, that the business of cannabis is more than raking in the dough and how losing sight of the complexities can get them into serious trouble.
There are also innovators from other, more established industries entering the cannabis market, and their increasing demand for robust technology is radically reshaping the cannabis industry. As a rapidly growing industry, the most successful companies turn to technology for process automation and more efficient workflows. After all, big data and technology have become as critical to the cannabis industry as any other, but many operators still use a patchwork of crudely connected solutions and spreadsheets to manage the majority of operations.
While this may have served last-generation cannabis companies, next-generation cannabis operators have expectations and compliance guidelines that require more. With all the data collected today, cannabis operators can use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics for process automation and a distinct competitive advantage.
As we progress to a new era of cannabis demand, entrepreneurial operators continue to introduce new ways of consuming their products, including oils for health products, cosmetics, vaping, edible gummies, and others. Technology increasingly permeates everyday life, but the COVID-19 pandemic created the need, faster emergence and extensive adoption of new technology to manage the market’s evolution. As the cannabis industry evolves and matures, so too does the technology that supports it.
The cannabis industry, once dominated by individual brands and small license operations, is seeing the rise of large multi-state operators (MSO) attracted to and investing in or acquiring those smaller cannabis brands. The MSOs bring new business practices, leadership, and robust technology solutions used to run large-scale organizations. These MSOs understand the limitations of standard seed-to-sale solutions and expect solutions and integrations for all functions of a cannabis business, from accounting and finance to inventory and warehouse to contactless transactions and delivery capabilities.
Modern cannabis technology is necessary to optimize a cannabis company’s operations, compliance, financial management and overall profitability from visibility and real-time data that deliver intelligent decision-making insights, impacting the industry’s four primary areas: cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail.
Compliance and traceability are driving the increased adoption of technology for marijuana cultivators. The growing awareness and drive toward sustainable practices and medical-grade consistency are backed by data fueled by technology. On their path to compliance, these growers have begun to realize the improved operational efficiencies through automation, which helps to manage labor costs more effectively and improve yield.
As companies research and develop new products to introduce to a captive audience, cannabis manufacturing has enormous growth potential. Cannabis technology facilitates precise and automated workflows that optimize operations and productivity while ensuring their products’ purity and potency.
Dispensaries need integrated technology for cannabis supply chain transparency, customer relations, staff training, and consumer education. With the increase in MSOs and the pandemic’s onset, more cannabis retailers reached for technology solutions. Reporting and analytics helped them streamline procurement and grow their companies while supporting compliance.
Cannabis distributors who transport products throughout the supply chain are required to keep detailed records and maintain precise inventory management. As cannabis legalization spreads across the nation, distributors rely on software for automation and accurate financial management and manage every step of the distribution process, including logistics scheduling, order, and product manifests from Point A to Point B.
Operators ahead of the game had cannabis technology in place before the pandemic, giving them a distinct advantage. The emergence and adoption of cannabis-specific technology for cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors positioned operators to survive the challenges of operating in a pandemic and thrive when other companies couldn’t pivot as quickly (or at all). Less sophisticated operations haven’t been able to adapt to a new and evolving normal.
The cannabis market will continue to evolve and expand. Investors, entrepreneurs and MSOs who hope to optimize their cannabis operation will rely on advanced cannabis software for the time-saving workflows, seamless automation, and business insights accessible to companies who want to grow.