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  • Norma Gray

How Silicon Valley Is Transforming The Cannabis Industry

Greener pastures lay ahead for the tech nerds at Silicon Valley — at least compared to the microchip worlds that they’ve hitherto been immersed in. The truth is that technology is at the heart of the success of any business, any industry. Why should the cannabis industry be any different?

The days are long behind us where cannabis, cannabis derivatives and cannabis products can be manufactured on a small scale. We’re now entering the world of cannabis “macro”, and as demand for cannabis-derived ingredients rises, especially CBD isolate products, so too does the demand for technology to keep up the pace.

At the moment, the only thing that can facilitate the next “high growth” of the cannabis industry is the help of some of the world’s biggest tech brains — many of which are concentrated in the SIlicon Valley. From precision cannabis cultivation to processing data for sales, the Silicon Valley is transforming the entire cannabis industry.

Precision cannabis cultivation using AI

Companies like Grownetics are taking the concept of AI and machine learning and applying it to cannabis cultivation. Agriculture might not know what to do with itself if this degree of AI can infiltrate other cultivation industries such as food or cotton.

AI technology for precision hemp cultivation can be likened to the automated car of growing dope. And in a greenhouse containing thousands of plants, that’s a welcomed addition. This technology can make cultivation recommendations hour by hour to maintain plant health, increase yield, and even makes suggestions on how to maximize the yield of specific cannabinoids.

The savings a cannabis farm could make are unprecedented. Fewer people would be required to maintain a greenhouse, not to mention the savings made from avoiding errors that occur during the growing operation.

Zynga is another such company selling this kind of technology to large-scale cannabis cultivation projects. Co-founder, Tom Bollich, highlights the key benefits of automation, such as being able to monitor cannabinoid yield and irrigation level for an entire greenhouse from a smartphone. This is a universe away from the automated grow boxes that were on the market just a few years ago.

Data collection and targeted marketing

The cannabis industry is a market entirely of its own, containing a plethora of different products. With varying state government regulations, customer needs, and medical requirements, it’s not always easy to funnel marketing through to the right audience.

The tech sector of the Silicon Valley was quick to jump on this technology, using the same kind of machine learning technology as we’ve seen in precision cannabis cultivation.

Artificial intelligence is now able to learn customer buying patterns, match those with the regulations of each state, taking into account the medical needs of the customer, and then market products that are available and appropriate to each person.

Naturally, the application of AI-powered e-commerce solutions increases conversion rates and retains customers. This is invaluable for start-ups, who are now competing with some of the biggest names in cannabis.

High-tech cannabis delivery systems

E-commerce and cultivation aren’t the only aspects of the cannabis industry bound to benefit from the quantum leap of technology currently taking place in the world. Delivery systems are also receiving artificially intelligent brains.

For example, Starship Technologies is in the pilot stages of automated cannabis delivery. Yes — no more dealers showing up on bicycles to deliver. Rather, something like a Google car would be making deliveries based on algorithms.

There are quite a number of different cannabis companies beginning to utilize these technologies, and no doubt these will be the ones to experience the kind of “high growth” we’re referring to. Aurora, Canopy Growth, Aphria and Newage Beverages are leading this technological cannabis revolution, although it’s only assumed that many more will jump on the bandwagon.