Cannabis Industry Looks to Emerging Technology to Guide Innovation
In 2022, the phrase “the future of cannabis” can have many interpretations. In the past, thinking ahead in cannabis referred to budding legalization across states, policy reform, and increased access for medical patients.
Today, technology is taking a starring role in cannabis industry evolution and powering outside-the-box innovation, according to an article in the August issue of mg Magazine. From digital dispensary menus and cryptocurrency (crypto) to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), modern technologies used in other sectors have the opportunity to shape cannabis, too. Technology leaders like WM Technology CEO Chris Beals and early adopters like Lincoln Barnett III are creating new ways for technology and cannabis to forge connections in the digital world.
The emerging space, Web3—which incorporates NFTs and the metaverse as well as crypto and other blockchain technologies—has made a cultural impact, generating intrigue around the potential to gain or lose huge sums of money in a digital setting. Cannabis innovators like Barnett see the potential for such technology to change the face of cannabis, addressing problems in the supply chain and building community across sectors.
NFTs can help form global communities, structure conversations, and even facilitate marketing through discounts, VIP access, and other perks. Popular platforms like Facebook or Instagram often block cannabis advertisements, so releasing coupons through NFTs allows brands to engage with significant audiences. On the other side of Web3, some dispensaries are testing crypto payments as an alternative to cash, with mixed results. Whether web3 will gain footing in cannabis remains uncertain, but leaders continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in an ever-evolving landscape.
Beals sees the future of cannabis technology in a different light. His company aims to become the industry’s tech powerhouse, forging an entire digital ecosystem complete with online menus, advertising, and business-software-as-a-service. WM Technology spans sectors from websites and e-commerce to delivery and mobile apps. By acquiring additional companies and software, Beals intends to transform his business into a one-stop shop to fulfill needs for retailers and brands alike. Leveraging innovations in data, blockchain, cultivation systems, NFTs, and more, Beals sees innovation on the horizon.
“Innovation in the cannabis industry is at a fever pitch, offering ever-more-impressive solutions for everything from inventory tracking and human-resources management to cultivation automation, compliance, and ecommerce,” said Kathee Brewer, editorial director at Inc Media, parent company of mg Magazine. “Although hot emerging technologies like cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, and the metaverse may not be of immediate use for most of the industry, they could be essential within five years.”
To read the full article about emerging tech in the cannabis industry in the August issue of mg Magazine, click here.