(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
As Maryland’s medical cannabis industry continues to grow, there’s also increasing interest in where technology and entrepreneurship can help solve challenges within it.
It’s a complex industry, and so will require expertise, as well as data and analysis, said Jacquie Cohen Roth, founder and CEO of ecosystem-supporting initiatives CannabizMD and Tea Pad.
“The cannabis industry is really three distinct industries combined into one: agriculture (cultivation); manufacturing (the processing of a host of medical products and food products) and retail (the dispensary),” Cohen Roth said. “Each has its own unique requirements for tech applications for efficiency and success, but primarily they require collecting and processing large amounts of data.”
For instance, she said, in the area of cultivation, there are many different areas of business to track, such as plant hydration, lighting, mitigation and infestation management.
“Once a seed is planted, it is tracked every step of the supply chain, and that requires managing lots of data. It’s important to remember that these companies are making medicine, and with that comes the need for regular lab testing and required compliance,” Cohen Roth said. “Since cannabis has been prohibited for so long, tools and processes that do exist have plenty of room for improvement.”
In Maryland, companies are developing technology specifically for the cannabis industry. Among them is Bryan Lopez, founder and CEO of BryteMap, a company making a tool for plant tracking and reporting in states that use the medical cannabis platform METRC. He’ll be among the panelists speaking on May 9 at CannaBizMD’s Cannabis + Innovation forum at the The Westin Hotel at BWI.
The event will also include the launch of Tea Pad, a new organization looking to provide networking and resources for industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Taking its name from speakeasies in New York City “where cannabis, jazz, and people combined,” Cohen Roth said it has a particular focus on bringing minorities together and breaking down barriers to enter the industry.
“I believe that the burgeoning cannabis business holds the greatest potential for correcting the mistakes of the last 80 years of America’s drug policy, and it’s my hope that Tea Pad will be a force to move the industry and our society towards something better by providing opportunities for minority cannabis entrepreneurs,” Cohen Roth said.
Cohen Roth said Tea Pad events, which will initially be the primary networking tool, will be held around the state in historically Black and Brown communities. Additionally, all proceeds from the events will fund the Tea Pad Scholarship for Black Entrepreneurship at Morgan State University.-30-
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