Part 3 of 8 for 2018 Cannabis Trends: Increased demand domestically and internationally promote advancements in agricultural technology.
Agricultural technology in the cannabis industry is undergoing some big big changes and, in 2018, expect those changes to continue to accelerate towards automated, wireless, and efficient. The biggest catalyst for change is the Canadian cannabis market. Cannabis companies across the nation are signing supply agreements with Canadian provinces, and in order to meet those demands they are building massive production facilities.
For example, several months ago the cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corp. recently signed a supply agreement with Prince Edward Island to supply the province with 1 million grams of cannabis annually. Canopy has also signed similar agreements with other Canadian provinces.
To keep up with this demand, Canopy is currently in the process of constructing two massive production facilities; one that will total 1.3 million square feet of growing space and the other totaling to about 1.7 million square feet. Once you figure in Canopy’s other production facilities, the company is expected to have over 5 million square feet of growing space; which is astonishing.
In order to manage all of the space, cannabis companies are looking for ways to improve efficiency and automation. Take Gavita for example. Gavita is a lighting and hydroponics company that recently became popular with cannabis growers ever since it was purchased by Scotts Miracle-Gro. Gavita’s most popular product used to be the 1000W DE HPS system but, as grower’s search for better efficiency, the 750W fixture has started to outsell it.
Expect the cannabis industry in 2018 to start moving away from traditional HPS lighting solutions in favor of both LED and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) Lighting.
LED lights have been on the market for years now, but it’s only been recently that the price of LEDs have become competitive. The big advantage of LEDs comes from the fact that they require less energy, emit less heat, and can manipulate the light spectrum to maximize growth. Some also claim that LEDs can help deter pests and bacteria growth, but there’s been little scientific research to confirm these claims.
The breakout star of AgTech this year, however, is going to be CMH lighting. Because of their unique properties, CMH lights are more efficient than HPS lights (350W per lamp vs. 1000W), are cheaper than LEDs, and have on average a Color Rendering Index (CRI) score of 90 out of 100. HPS lights only have a CRI score of between 20-30 and metal halide lights have a CRI range of 60-65.
In terms of automation, cannabis cultivators are looking to reduce as many simple tasks in the cultivation process as possible. Using platforms like Grownetics, cannabis cultivators can track their grows, automate lighting, and utilize big data to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Other companies are taking automation to a whole new level. For example, a startup in Boston called Bloom Automation is currently developing a robot that is capable of trimming cannabis plants. Although the robot is too expensive right now to employ on a massive scale, expect Bloom and other cannabis companies to start seeking similar solutions in both the short and long term.
For the short and long term, expect the world of cannabis agtech to bend towards automation and cheaper, less energy-intensive, lighting solutions. One company already moving in this direction is VividGro. Recently the company launched its first lightweight sustainable light fixture, GroBar, as well as announced the acquisition of home cannabis grow-app WeGrow; which the company hopes to use its technology to help provide more streamlined solutions to cannabis cultivators.
So far, 2018 has been a huge year for the cannabis industry; but where is it all heading? In AxisWire’s 2018 Cannabis Trend Report, we take a look at some of the biggest developments in the cannabis industry so far this year and provide insight as to where the market trends suggest they will be headed.
Here’s a sneak peak:
Women in Cannabis Women are gaining greater ground in the cannabis industry. Women hold approximately 27% of C-Suite level positions in the cannabis industry. The last year has seen an explosion of industry organizations dedicated to advancing women in the industry, like IPW and Women Grow. There is also a growing number of women-owned cannabis brands, like Garden Society, as well as brands marketing specifically to women, such as Whoopi & Maya.
Cannabis Stocks Bolstered by legal cannabis in Canada and by increasingly impotent federal enforcement in the United States, the number of cannabis companies going public is on the rise. Companies like Canopy Growth and Cronos Group have gone public on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, respectively. Additionally, several US companies are gearing up to go public in Canada; including Acreage Holdings, Dixie Brands Inc., and MJIC Inc.
AgTech Agricultural technology in the cannabis industry is set to see some big changes. Cannabis giants like Aurora and Canopy are starting to build massive grow operations and as such as are looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Cannabis growers are beginning to favor CMH lighting over LEDs and HPS lighting, primarily due to its low costs and high Color Rendering Index Score. Automation is also an avenue that cultivators are exploring to reduce costs, including cannabis trimming robots.
Welcome to Hollyweed Hollywood is slowly becoming more comfortable with its relationship with cannabis. Encouraged by recreational cannabis becoming legal in California, there has been an upswell of celebrity cannabis brands; such as Montel Williams’ Lentiv. Likewise, there has been an increase in cannabis-related television shows, and award shows like the Academy Awards have started allowing cannabis gift bags.
Infused Cannabis Beverages Beverages infused with cannabis stand to be the next big thing in the industry. Several large beer companies have already expressed interest in making craft cannabis beverages; including the brewing company Lagunitas. Independent cannabis companies have also begun to branch out into the world of cannabis beverages; including a number of cannabis-based wines, such as the new luxury brand coming to market SAKA.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Like other industries, cannabis has fallen head over heels for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Due to the disconnect between state and federal cannabis laws, some companies have resorted to launching Initial Coin Offerings as a way to raise money. Additionally, larger cannabis companies have begun to develop blockchain-based software systems to help manage seed-to-sale tracking as well as point-of-sale technology.
International Trade Cannabis’ newfound legality in Canada has led several cannabis companies to seek out international markets. A lack of infrastructure in medical cannabis markets, such as Germany, have presented an opportunity for cannabis companies to gain some short-term profit and some long-term benefits. By setting up in developing markets, larger cannabis companies have the chance to establish a footprint before local businesses even get off the ground.
Music Industry & Cannabis A growing number of famous musicians are starting to stake a claim in the cannabis industry. Legends like Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson have launched their own cannabis brands, and business savvy rock stars like Gene Simmons have started to make investments in this growing industry. Some aspiring musicians are also hoping to make a name for themselves by using cannabis itself to spread awareness of their music.
The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis