The use of AI and big data spurs the growth of many industries today, and the cannabis industry is no exception. In America alone, the legal weed market was priced at $11.9 billion and is expected to grow exponentially to an estimated $66.3 billion by end-2025.
With this massive growth potential, those in the business of growing, distributing, and marketing legal cannabis-based products are tapping AI and big data to get a leg up over the competition.
Planting Profits with AI
Growers are now able to optimize plant growth by using data and AI to adapt to changes in climate and account for variables like soil quality, available light, and frequency of watering. By using historical patterns, machine learning algorithms can sift through tons of data on these variables, and guide growers to make the needed adjustments to light, water, temperature and other factors hour-by-hour to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Growers can even determine how much CBD (cannabidiol, the naturally-occurring relaxant in cannabis) they want harvests to yield, and it’s also possible for them to alter the genetic composition of the plants to consistently come up with the most profitable species. By growing cannabis with the help of AI and big data, suppliers can reduce costs by being less dependent on laborers during the growing stages.
AI as the Middle Marketer
Selling and delivering cannabis products are now easier for cannabis dispensaries, thanks to AI-based apps. One example of an AI startup that specializes in door-to-door cannabis products delivery is Eaze, a California-based service that uses an app to collect orders from age-verified customers. The app can even connect those who need a prescription with a doctor before ordering. Cannabis users and some industry insiders refer to Eaze as the “Uber” of cannabis.
On average, a customer can receive their order in as fast as 20 minutes, and Eaze gets an order request every 30 seconds. At present, the app remains a huge help for medical marijuana retailers to trace the supply and demand for the product in their area, then make adjustments to inventory and deliveries as needed.
Ensuring the Price is Right
The accompanying “price war” that inevitably comes with the rapid growth of the cannabis market spells big opportunity for AI startups. Such companies use big data to mine insights on the major players, then formulate strategies for marketing, branding and sales efforts. Such data help suppliers and dispensaries make more informed decisions, follow trends and target the appropriate markets.
And it’s happening now; Cannabase, an analytics company that specializes in the cannabis trade, provides analytics and real-time market info to wholesale growers and retailers, anticipates market trends, and tracks changes in volumes and prices in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets. Cannabase likewise supplies analytics to advertisers who want to sell to growers and dispensaries.
Keeping Cannabis “Clean”
Regulation is still one of the most difficult hurdles to operating a cannabis-oriented product or company. Regulatory compliance, insurance, payment security, transport and other tasks can use up time that’s better spent on more important tasks like sales and marketing. That’s where companies like MJ Freeway come in.
Based in another large legal cannabis market, MJ Freeway calls itself a “cannabis business solutions” provider that prides itself in the creating the “very first seed-to-sale tracking [software] for the industry”, apart from assisting cannabis companies in managing their business and ensuring compliance with state regulations. MJ Freeway takes care of the mundane, tedious tasks of running a canna-biz, allowing their clients to have more time and resources to devote to more important tasks.
What this means for marketers
The implications of using AI and big data to a heavily-regulated and “controversial” product like cannabis are huge. This is proof that AI and big data can be applied to almost any product or industry imaginable, as long as a product is legal and has a market. AI and big data are fast becoming indispensable tools for maximizing profits and ensuring a company’s continued existence. If you’re a marketer on either side of the cannabis industry, there’s literally a growing need for AI and big data in this field and there’s still room for more AI startups in this literally-growing industry. For AI, weed is a friend indeed.
For more details on this story, read it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolemartin1/2019/06/26/how-big-data-and-ai-help-drive-the-cannabis-industry/#3c18d9c02bca
Seeing the need for AI in the “field” of cannabis-growing and marketing, is this a career path you’ll consider if the opportunity arises? What do you think of AI startups delving into marketing this “controversial” product? Let us know your opinions in the comments!