Hippy Meets High-Tech: Cannabis Software Solutions Make Life Easier for Entrepreneurs
The Junky G Articles.
When most people think of running a marijuana growing or dispensing business, they probably envision long-haired hippies sweating and working happily in the hot sun to grow a wonderland of goods. At the end of each day, they sit around cross-legged, toking on blunts, weighing and packing the final product into baggies. Before tossing them in a box, they slap a sticker on them and price them with a marker.
The reality of the cannabis industry is nothing like this vision. In fact, the real world of marijuana growing and sales is one that's much more organized and increasingly high-tech. A wave of new software is ensuring that from seed to sale, no blunt is left unaccounted for.
Laws, Laws Everywhere
Anyone in the industry will agree that stringent organization is a must due to strict government regulations in all of the states that have legalized cannabis for any purpose - medical or recreational. Grow operations and dispensaries must be licensed and adhere to a long list of requirements. Product must be carefully tracked from its origin as a tiny seed all the way through its life as a plant and final destination as a sellable product. All marijuana edibles must adhere to specific packaging and marking requirements in order to clearly differentiate them from non-cannabis treats. Each sale must be documented to ensure that the proper amount of tax is being paid.
These are only a few of the many legal requirements for cannabis-oriented businesses. Add to this the typical stressors of operating any company - keeping track of inventory and managing employees, customers and sales - and an owner operator of a marijuana dispensary has a lot on their plate. This is where a substance that's been used recreationally and medicinally for centuries is meeting the high-tech world of today. Companies are developing cutting-edge software to help cannabis entrepreneurs effectively run their businesses while remaining well within the letter of the law.
Following the Trail
After cannabis became legal in Colorado, the state government realized that it needed a way to track product to ensure that proper procedures were being consistently followed. To do this, they created the Marijuana Inventory Tracking System. Using this system, operators tag each plant with a scannable ID tag. Products are marked with similar tags. This enables them to be tracked via a state database.
Franwell - the company that created the system and tags being used by the state of Colorado - didn't start off in the cannabis industry. In fact, in the years before it delved into dispensary management software, Franwell developed similar products for agricultural companies. With its experience at creating supply chain tracking software for items like produce, the shift into cannabis was a natural for the firm. Regulations differ from state to state and even within individual states, laws are constantly changing. Because of this, companies like Franwell have learned to be extremely adaptable.
Other companies have also seen the multimillion-dollar opportunity that is the cannabis software industry. The state of Nevada awarded its seed-to-sale tracking contract to MJ Freeway, a company that offers a wide suite of cannabis management software. Their products are highly specialized, starting with GrowTracker software for the seed-to-harvest side of the industry. For manufacturers of edibles and cannabis concentrates, MixTracker manages product and keeps track of potency and exact recipes. Operators of dispensaries and clubs use the GramTracker solution to ensure compliance with state tracking laws. Beyond the legally-required tracking of product and sales, GramTracker allows dispensary owners to efficiently manage information necessary to run their business. Its point-of-sale system makes inventory data, various reports, as well as information on employees and dispensary patients available in mere seconds without hours of manual record-keeping on the part of the staff.
Another popular point-of-sale/inventory management company is Flowhub. It was founded in 2014 by Kyle Sherman, who worked at a grow operation and experienced firsthand the issues surrounding seed-to-sale tracking. Feeling that compliance needn't be so frustrating and difficult, he was determined to build a seed-to-sale system that was intuitive, fast and accurate. Flowhub's software functions as a sleek point-of-sale system, tracks inventory and even allows users to create a catalog of suppliers and products in order to ensure that data is standardized and accurate in dispensaries with multiple retail locations.
Outside the Dispensary
The world of cannabis software is about more than just tracking product and serving customers inside dispensaries. It's also about assisting customers outside the dispensary. With this in mind, Eaze was founded. The company specializes in medical marijuana delivery to patients throughout California. A patient simply places an order via the Eaze website. The details of that order are sent to an Eaze-approved dispensary near the patient and an Eaze driver picks up the order and makes a speedy delivery. Eaze technology ensures that most transactions are completed in about ten minutes.
Named the "Uber of cannabis", Eaze has become hugely successful. In fact, it has just become the most-funded company in the marijuana tech industry. With its announcement on Oct 24 that it had raised an additional $13M, Eaze now has more than $25 million in funding. In addition to providing deliveries, Eaze helps individuals who are new to the world of cannabis obtain a medical marijuana card for their illness. For patients seeking an appointment with a doctor in order to discuss medical cannabis, the EazeMD app provides a directory of cannabis-friendly medical professionals.
For those operating in the ever-growing and quickly-changing cannabis industry, the explosion in software options is a huge blessing. It's tough to successfully run any business, let alone keep up with the constant changes in state regulations. Cannabis tracking technology enables entrepreneurs to run their business while staying in compliance with a long list of government regulations. And that frees them up to head out into the beautiful sunshine in their Birkenstocks and commune with the Great Earth Spirit as they get their hands dirty while singling folk songs and growing Mother Nature's herb. Wait - that's not how a grow operation actually works? Perhaps that will be an excellent topic to explore in the future...