The Effects of Technology on the Cannabis Industry

The Effects of Technology on the Cannabis Industry

Published on 10/16/22

Many of us are lucky to live in states with access to recreational and medical marijuana. And some of us don't know there was a time when the cannabis industry was entirely underground. 

Even after cannabis was legalized in a handful of states, the industry was still operating with pen and paper. Now that the industry is exploding, we're seeing the demand for software, analytics, and automation. Businesses are looking to increase profitability and create a more enjoyable consumer experience.

Read on to see how technology has affected the cannabis industry for the better. We'll start by covering the first implementations in legal cannabis markets, expand on the effect of marijuana technology, and provide examples used by the industry today.

The Rise of Cannabis Industry Technology

Cannabis prohibition coming to an end ushered in a new era. Not only could we access products tested for quality and safety, but cannabis businesses also no longer had to operate under the radar. 

Within a few years, after states began to legalize recreational use, an influx of cannabis software and technology arrived on the scene to optimize cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and the consumer experience.

Marijuana is still a schedule 1 narcotic in the United States, but President Biden is looking to reschedule cannabis soon. Federal prohibition has slowed down the digitalization of the cannabis industry, especially in the financial sector. Not only do most dispensaries still only take cash or debit payments, but the federal ban also creates challenges in manufacturing, cannabis real estate, and even data collection. This is due to limited access to national lenders and banks.

A slow push toward digitalization doesn't mean the cannabis industry lacks technological advancements. On the contrary, numerous sectors of the industry have flourished because of data-driven solutions, only made possible with advanced technology. The transition hasn't been as fast as it could be, but digitalization is pacing faster than a decade ago.

How Cannabis Technology Affects the Industry


Many people's views of the cannabis industry tend to be rather simplistic. A farmer grows a field of marijuana, harvests the plants, and then sells the buds. The product is then sold at a dispensary that sells to consumers. 

Billions of dollars are at stake, creating a competitive marketplace that fuels optimization, reducing costs, and retaining customers. The industry is also rapidly changing with new products, home delivery options, and new-to-market cannabis compounds like Delta-8 and HHC.

Many challenges can be solved or made more accessible through cannabis technology. Below are some ways that innovation is helping the industry transition from guesswork to data-driven decisions.

Cannabis Growing Technology

IoT (internet of things) devices for growing equipment are revolutionizing cannabis cultivation. Sensors can monitor and control: 

  • Temperature
  • Airflow
  • Humidity
  • CO2
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Other vital components of growing

Farmers are no longer required to spend hours supervising their grow environment. Instead, they can focus on other ways to increase their yields while the tech monitors the basics.

Software is also used to help farmers stay compliant with state regulations by tracking each seed all the way to the customer purchase. Without technology, this process would be difficult, especially with flower used for extraction.

Manufacturing Technology

Cannabis manufacturing facilities can optimize extraction, production, and packaging while staying compliant with the help of software.

The end of prohibition has also created innovative cannabis concentrates with complex processes. Controlling the different solvents, pressure, and heat from various extraction machines is challenging. But manufacturers can collect data with software to optimize these complicated methods to produce higher-quality extracts.

Medical Marijuana Technology

As more people become familiar with cannabinoids aside from THC, the demand for natural relief with medical marijuana is gaining popularity.

While growth is favorable for the industry, it creates new problems. Thankfully, innovative solutions using technology are helping medical patients access cannabis products that aren't centered around delivering the most THC as possible.

One cannabis company claims to have developed a growing method using the advanced gene editing technology, CRISPR. The company is working to create cannabis plants that don't contain THC and CBD, focusing instead on other cannabinoids like CBN, CBC, and CBG.

Top Cannabis Business Technology

Sales, marketing, Point of Sale (POS), customer engagement, events, delivery, and loyalty programs can now be deployed from a single dashboard thanks to cannabis CRM. 

While there are still challenges with banking, dispensaries, in particular, are changing how they engage with customers through technology. They can track sales, conduct inventory, compare product performance, and run marketing campaigns, all thanks to software integration.

Cannabis Industry Technology Being Used Today

So, who's using what exactly? Here are examples of how the cannabis industry is relying on technology today.

Cultivation Software

Trym is a leading software company in cannabis cultivation. Their platform helps cannabis grow facilities increase efficiency, stay compliant, and keep their environment consistent. 

As a grower, you can collect important metrics, track plants from seed to sale, and build Gantt charts to keep team members organized.

Tracking Compliance

Tracking plants to stay compliant is critical in this industry. One of the key aspects of cannabis growing technology and manufacturing management systems is integrating with the regulatory reporting platform, Metrc.

Every company that handles cannabis is required to report its involvement in the supply chain. Metrc is an internet database required by law to track the entire cannabis supply chain. Each Metrc plant tag has a bar code with the facility name, license number, tag order date, and unique plant identification number.

Their system has logged over five billion total events that represent over 31 billion in sales.

Cannabis Software

Another company that has successfully developed cannabis software and technology is Blaze. Their platform helps retail businesses to: 

  • Set up POS
  • Manage delivery services
  • Stay compliant
  • Invoice clients
  • Track analytics

Blaze has a broad range of tools and continues to develop more solutions specifically for the cannabis industry.

Where's Weed