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  • Writer's pictureVincent Petrescu

How Technology is Shaping the US Cannabis Retail Industry

Medical and recreational cannabis sales in the United States are set to break the $12 billion mark by the end of 2019. That's an increase of about 35% from last year. Not bad for an industry that barely existed two decades ago!

Experts are now saying it could climb as high as $30 billion by 2023. This is due to trends seen in recreational and medical marijuana markets.

Took us a while to get here

Individual states began legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes in 1996. This ignited the slow but steady road to the legal use of cannabis in other states.

Two decades later, 31 U.S. states now allow cannabis sales for medical purposes. Nine of those states permit the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. Around the world, countries are also joining the cannabis revolution.

Investments pouring in

Even in its relative infancy, cannabis has indeed found its place in mainstream business. Investors, manufacturers and researchers are already reacting accordingly.

Money is now pouring in from entrepreneurs who see the wealth of opportunity. Since 2016, investors have been buying into some of the most popular cannabis stocks. Those who did have already generated tremendous returns.

Other industries are also getting in on the fun. Pharmaceutical companies are working on cannabis research for the health, well-being markets. Meanwhile, consumer products companies are developing a variety of products for recreational markets.

Bumps along the way

Still, the industry is young. It is set to evolve further as a wide range of derivative products emerge. And while infrastructure is being built from scratch, challenges await the pioneers.

Responding to an immediate surge of demand is no easy task for cultivators, producers and distributors. Cultivators are searching for more efficient ways to produce a bigger yield.

For their part, retailers are struggling to respond to the influx of customers. This results in long lines at cannabis dispensaries and an increasingly frustrated customer base.

Many cannabis retailers are embracing these growing pains with little choice. Fortunately for them, better supply channels are already being created for them.

Technology shaping the industry

Cannabis dispensaries are growing in numbers year after year. With that, the technology surrounding the industry is also picking up.

From cannabis cultivation to retail distribution, innovation is steadily growing within the industry.

Companies have already started developing high-tech indoor farms. In controlled environments, cultivators are able to improve on the quality and quantity of the yield.

Retailers should also be excited. Innovative tools are slowly improving supply chains for the future.

As with other industries, automation is gearing up to be the future of cannabis retail.

Imagine dispensing cannabis with lockers in the same way established giants like Target or Amazon already do?

Dispensaries with Amazon-like delivery pick up stations will be the game-changer in retail. With software managing inventory and orders, retailers can reduce manpower. Soon, cannabis buyers will no longer fall in long lines to get their goods. Cannabis sales with technology provide customers the convenience they deserve.

The future of cannabis retail is also bright for store owners who want to maximize a store's potential. With automation taking over most of the tasks, store owners will need less workforce. Reports are retrieved in an instant. Inventories checked at a tap of a screen. Human error is reduced significantly. With less overhead, retailers can use the money on extra inventory and earn even more.

Charting the future

Over all, the industry has a lot going for it. In various stages of development are new cannabis-based products. Some of which may rewrite previously established trends. Others will be taking the industry by storm soon. How retailers and investors adapt to these developments will dictate their part in the future of this promising industry.

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