Guardian Data Systems is just one example of marijuana technology growth. Guardian began as a service to buy medical marijuana from dispensaries online using a credit card — a novelty in a mostly cash-only industry. The system enables pre-approved customers with state-licensed dispensaries to use their credit cards to pay for product online and receive it via home delivery in states where it's legal to do so, like Oregon and Nevada. Guardian's tech offerings have morphed into a complete enterprise software solution for cannabis businesses, including point-of-sale and distribution software, automated inventory and delivery options, and more.
The ever-growing market has made room for simpler endeavors, too. MassRoots and Leafly provide information like THC and CBD levels, aroma and flavor in a plethora of cannabis strains. And weedmaps has grown to have one of the most comprehensive dispensary location databases you'll find, with turn-by-turn directions and customer reviews and more.
But there's a glimpse of new technology on the horizon, too, like artificial intelligence. PotBotics, uses a recommendation engine (read: AI) that takes plant DNA analysis and other cannabis research to guide medical marijuana patients to tailored treatment with appropriate strains and products. The software can even make appointments for patients with licensed medical cannabis clinics nearby, and also some in a mobile app called PotBot.
Those working in the marijuana industry are all pioneers in their own way, it's still a a fledgling market. That pioneering spirit will probably remain in place until marijuana becomes treated the same as alcohol and tobacco, if it ever comes to that. There’s still some time to look back and see how far society has come in accepting legal weed. Those of us watching from the sidelines and thinking we'd never see the day are surprised, amused and awed by this new industry that is providing a boost to the economy through the technology innovation.
Thomas Russell is a high school information technology teacher and retired Army Signal Corps soldier. He is the founder of SEMtech (Student Engagement and Mentoring in Technology) and an Advisory Board Member of Educating Children of Color. His hobbies include writing, photography and hiking. Contact Thomas via Russell’s Room on Facebook, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his photography at thomasholtrussell.zenfolio.com.