It’s high time we leave the pot jokes to antiquity. With the cannabis industry poised to shell out billions in profit, more and more startups and tech moguls are getting into the game and it’s too attractive a potential to not take seriously.
According to a Forbes report, total cannabis sales in North America alone summed up to $6.7 billion last year. That’s heavyweight, considering the drug is still not legal in all American states and Canada is still pushing for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Once the US achieves total legalization, that figure could climb by a staggering 300 percent per The Motley Fool.
As of today, marijuana is legal in 29 American states. But with legalization also comes the problem of regulation. Policies in both national and statutory levels remain vague and the US federal government still classifies the drug as a schedule 1 controlled substance, a status it shares with heroin. This conflicts with some states’ laws where marijuana has already been legitimized either for recreational or medical use or both.
A critical point
California’s recent addition to the roster of Cannabis-friendly states is seen as a turning point for cannabis tech, according to Baker CTO and co-founder Roger Obando.
“You’ve got the sixth-largest economy in the world passing legislation that allows recreational adult-use. This is really the watershed moment for cannabis tech,” Obando says.
Even the problem of legalization is not seen as a hurdle to the booming of the cannabis industry. The demand is simply there while supply is still barely catching up. This billion dollar potential is too big for any sane, logical business-minded individual to simply ignore.
Exploring the beyond
The possibilities in cannabis tech is diverse and Silicon Valley talents are rolling up their sleeves to innovate products that maximize cannabis use. These are more than just vaporizers. You can find ridesharing apps for medical marijuana, gadgets specialized for cannabis, cryptocurrency for weed, and software for tracking pot use and sales.
It’s hard to see any drawbacks in the industry. There’s no stiff competition (yet), the industry is worth billions, and the wide margin for success is salient as daylight. Though prohibition still poses a problem, it’s naivete to deny that there’s money in marijuana. It’s just a matter of time before legalization issues are ironed out. And when that time comes, the last place you’ll want to be is at the starting line.