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California Cannabis Licensing Authorities Unveil New Unified License Search Tool

The new platform provides an easy way to search through the state’s thousands of cannabis business licenses.

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – PRESS RELEASE – California’s three cannabis licensing authorities – BCC, CDFA and CDPH announced today the launch of a unified licensing search platform, the culmination of a collaboration between the California Department of Technology, the California Health and Human Services Agency Office of Innovation, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the licensing authorities.

The unified license search tool allows the public to search for cannabis license information from all three licensing authorities by using one search tool. The need for a unified search was identified through conversations with, and surveys of, licensed businesses, local governments, and law enforcement conducted in late 2019 and early 2020. 

“This unified license data search tool will make it easier for the public to access cannabis license information without having to inquire with each licensing authority separately,” Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said. “This will also help consumers identify licensed cannabis retailers near them.”

Some features of the new license search include an interactive map and geolocation tools. There is also a survey where users can submit usability feedback to the licensing authorities as they continue to refine the search tool. The unified license search tool can be accessed at https://search.cannabis.ca.gov/.

The unified license search will be updated every 24 hours; however, the most recent data will still be available through each licensing authority’s existing search tool on its website.

In January 2020, Gov. Newsom announced plans to consolidate the three cannabis licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control, in an effort to improve access to licensing and simplify regulatory oversight of commercial cannabis activity. Today’s announcement is part of that overall plan.

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How to choose a tracking system: Scaling your cannabis company beyond compliance

Many states with legalized medical or recreational cannabis require license holders to report product movement using a chosen reporting system. The most common include Metrc, BioTrackTHC and Leaf Data Systems.

Regardless of whether a state has a mandated reporting system, licensed operators are obligated to maintain detailed records of product tracking should the state initiate an audit.

Because of this, cannabis operators look to technology for help.

While companies do not have a choice in the reporting system a state requires, they do have a choice in the software system used internally to track, manage and account for cannabis products.

An internal tracking software system must be capable of not only helping operators achieve compliance, but also operate a healthy, profitable and scalable business.

How should cannabis companies go about choosing a tracking system?

There are at least three approaches to the challenge.

Ultimately your choice will depend on factors such as an organization’s size, budget and its plans for growth and expansion.

Start small with manual tracking

Many, if not most, cannabis startups begin operation with big visions and small budgets.

So, like small-business startups in any industry, cannabis startups often begin life with an entry-level accounting package such as QuickBooks and a series of spreadsheets to manage the data that doesn’t have a home in that package.

Operating this way requires companies to collate and hand-key the required data into their state’s reporting system.

While a manual tracking system such as this can help a company meet compliance mandates, it involves a tremendous amount of duplicate data entry to maintain and does not provide insight into valuable business data such as profitability by product, materials-requirement planning, customer profitability or inventory turns.

cannabis tracking software overview

Add in a seed-to-sale application

Another approach to managing compliance is to use a software system that is often referred to as seed-to-sale.

Seed-to-sale systems are narrowly designed with one goal in mind: to aid cannabis companies in achieving compliance in product tracking.

These applications typically do not offer broader accounting functionality so here, too, companies tack on an application such as QuickBooks.

One benefit of seed-to-sale applications is that most include a level of integration with a state’s reporting software that helps minimize the burden of duplicate data entry.

While seed-to-sale systems simplify compliance, their narrow focus can hamper the ability to adapt to the changing cannabis landscape, forcing companies to track parts of the business in separate systems, or even outside the software, which limits an organization’s ability to be innovative, efficient and nimble.

Moreover, with business data broken up in separate systems, the ability to gain deep insight into the overall operation is compromised.

Scale and grow with cannabis ERP

As companies grow and plan for expansion, acquisition or venture funding, they must critically evaluate their operations, looking for efficiencies in how they manage data.

While smaller companies can get by using multiple applications to hold data for various functional areas, larger and growth-minded companies will often turn to enterprise level systems, or ERP (enterprise resource planning).

While cannabis businesses are unique, in many ways they are no different than other regulated manufacturers that must track and trace their raw materials, lots and finished goods throughout the supply chain, making ERP applications a good fit.

However, “generic” ERP applications lack the cannabis-industry specific capabilities necessary to streamline a compliant and scalable operation.

In response, a new category of enterprise resource planning is emerging: cannabis ERP.

Cannabis ERP brings together all business data, including accounting functionality, products, lots, customers, vendors, raw materials and supplies in one application.

A single source of information enables cannabis operators to adhere to the rules, regulations, and statutes of your state, while also running a successful and compliant business (not simply a compliant one).

In addition, cannabis ERP applications are designed to integrate with state reporting applications.

With cannabis ERP, companies are able to automate manual tasks – freeing resources to focus on building their brand and maintaining quality standards.

Businesses gain access to decision-making data that helps to optimize inventory holdings and understand what and who is making the company money.

By delivering broad functionality, deep insight and traceable workflows, cannabis ERP applications provide a strong foundation that appeals to investors as well – if that’s part of a company’s game plan.

Scaling beyond compliance

Regardless of the state in which a company does business, compliance with product tracking rules is simply a baseline for legal operation.

Cannabis businesses must go beyond simple compliance, functioning both efficiently and effectively, or they will soon get left behind.

The choice of tracking technology will ultimately depend on a company’s goals and budget.

While there are multiple approaches to achieving compliance, a more comprehensive approach will ultimately yield the most flexibility and scalability, providing the agility so vital in this volatile industry.

Alex Glueckler is director of sales and strategy at Phoenix-based Silverware, where he is largely focused on their cannabis offering, Silver Leaf CBC. He can be reached at alex@silverw.com.

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The Future Of Dispensaries Means Contactless Marijuana Vending Machines For Colorado And Massachusetts

CANADA-HEALTH-DRUGS-MARIJUANA

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Deborah Jones, Canada-health-drugs-marijuana Chuck Varabioff, Director of … [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Move over potato chips and chocolate candy bars! The future of marijuana now offers Massachusetts and Colorado contactless marijuana vending machines.

The Boston based company, anna, first debuted at Strawberry Fields Dispensary in Pueblo, Colorado. CEO and Founder of anna, Matt Frost, describes the “tricked out vending machines” in an interview with the Knowoffering edibles, flowers, and vape all without much interaction.

“There are experienced cannabis customers who don’t necessarily need that one-on-one interaction with a budtender. They know what they want before they walk in, they’re ready to go in and out. By doing this, we’re giving more time back to the people who do need hand-holding and want that education from a live person,” Frost said. “With COVID and social distancing and contactless, definitely, we have an appeal there, as well.”

A background in data analytics, Frost created the system after recognizing the long wait times and some requirements of scheduled pick-ups at dispensaries and the fear of contracting Covid-19. “It’s about getting customers through faster with less contact,” Frost told Masslive.com.Recommended For You

Using anna is quite simple. The 8 square foot machine features over 2,000 products to cater to each customer’s requirement. Each customer can preorder on the anna app or check-in and select items; each machine takes cash or debit. After making selections, anna dispenses, and customers can choose, wholly contactless, and fast. The legal age and payment require approval from dispensary workers before processing.

The future of anna machines selling non-psychoactive cannabis products in a gas stations and retail stores will happen soon. Anna is not the first vending machine to help with seamless customer interaction, Zazz Machine was introduced in 2014 to check customer IDs at a dispensary in Avon, CO.

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Anna is set to debut in Massachusetts in September. Since the legalization of retail marijuana sales in November 2018, Massachusetts dispensaries have already made around 320 million dollars. While companies are excited about the idea, is it uncertain how it will affect the recent unionizations throughout the state.

In a statement by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW):

“The legal cannabis industry is a newly regulated market that can offer local communities jobs with strong wages and benefits that can’t be outsourced.”

As for the future of anna, Frost suggests this is only the beginning. “The partnership that we’re about to strike I have to keep under wraps for now, but [it’s] a very significant CBD distribution opportunity that we’re excited about,” in an interview with The Know

The next dispensary planned for anna vending machines is Starbuds in Aurora, Colorado, for later this year.

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4 Tips for Maximizing Cannabinoid Distillation

Separating cannabis extracts into their component molecules is a nuanced process. Here’s how to optimize results.

Components of the refinement process can cause isomerization during distillation. To mitigate this, it’s important to refine extracts prior to distillation.

Cannabis extraction and refinement create different raw materials for formulation. They are critical processes that separate cannabis extracts into their component molecules. Cannabinoid distillation is a particularly complex stage of the extraction and refinement process that involves a nuanced interplay among component boiling points, heat and vacuum. 

Here are some tips and tricks producers can use in their distillation protocols to optimize their results. 

1. Aim for highly refined and clean material. 

Limit the number of substances that interact during the distillation process and components that can negatively affect the performance of the equipment. For example, certain fatty acids have boiling points near cannabinoids and will often polymerize, which diminishes product purity and increases system maintenance. Also, components of the refinement process (i.e., clarifying agents) can cause isomerization during distillation. To mitigate this, refine extracts prior to distillation. Refinement processes include winterization, clarification and scrubbing filtration. 

2. Fully decarboxylate and degas the material. 

A simple way to increase the throughput of the distillation process is to decarboxylate and degas the cannabis extract before distillation. Decarboxylation and degassing are the processes of converting the acid form cannabinoids to the neutral forms and removing volatiles, respectively, by applying heat and agitation. By undertaking those two processes, the vacuum operates under reduced load and more cannabinoids are distilled per unit time. 

3. Use a well-designed vacuum system. 

The atmospheric boiling points of cannabinoids are not known to any degree of certainty because these heavy molecules tend to degrade before they boil. However, by removing atmosphere, the cannabinoids can be encouraged to boil at a lower temperature. Their boiling points under vacuum (i.e., 5×10-3 Torr)—as documented by Adams et al. in 1941 and Gaoni & Mechoulam in 1964—are between 155 and 160 degrees Celsius. That’s why it’s important to have a substantial vacuum system to reduce the heat required to vaporize cannabinoids and minimize the risk of degradation. An ideal vacuum system for this application is a dual-stage rotary-vane pump designed to pull to 1×10-4 Torr with a diffusion pump to increase the depth and stability of the vacuum under load. It’s also important to correctly size the tubing and seal the connectors.

4. Maintain short heated-surface contact. 

Heat can degrade or isomerize cannabinoids. Use a system that can deliver heat to a thin layer of oil to minimize total heat exposure. Wiped film or centrifugal systems are ideal for this because the oil’s contact with heat is several seconds compared to several hours. Finally, stainless steel heating surfaces (i.e., still body or centrifugal plate) increase the efficiency of heat transfer and the throughput of the distillation process. 

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High-Tech Cannabis Grow Systems Simplify Growing At Home

Ultimate guide to indoor grow systems, including automated, grow boxes, home grow systems, and DIY grow boxes.

Many states allowing legal cannabis also permit patients and residents to grow a certain number of plants for personal use. For many medical patients, producing their medicine at home dramatically reduces costs and increases their control over what they consume. However, learning how to grow a quality cannabis plant isn’t always as easy as it may seem.

Just as the refrigerator changed the way people shopped for food, and the microwave altered the way people cook, the cannabis indoor growing systems could revolutionize the way people grow their plants at home. Several companies are at the helm of the home grow revolution, and CannabisTech has all the details you need to know below about the future of home-grown cannabis technology.

THE ARMOIRE BY GREEN GODDESS SUPPLY

Price: $1,395+

The Armoire made by Green Goddess Supply has a furniture-inspired look and feel, in a unit that comes in two finishes. Resembling a traditional armoire, it’s an easy-to-use system that yields up to a quarter-pound of dry bud in a 60-day auto-flower harvest cycle. Growing cycles vary by species dominance, but the most popular is the 8 to 10-week strains (some strains can go as long as 12-14 weeks). The Armoire is ergonomically designed, lightweight, waterproof, and comes with everything you need except seeds, water, and soil mix (UV safety glasses, wi-fi camera, digital hygrometer [LCD temperature & humidity module] and moisture meter are just a few of accessories included with the system. The LED large footprint light is proprietary—designed down to the last nanometer— and uses an intuitive 4 winch pulley system for easy scaling as your plant grows. It’s also energy efficient — with a carbon footprint of approximately 150 watts. The system is user-serviceable and backed by a multi-component warranty. An industry first, a childproof magnetic lock is standard, which helps to ensure your plants aren’t accessed by anyone but the grower. The exhaust fan is quiet and can be easily removed for cleaning, the no odor carbon “long life” scrubber uses high-grade Australian activated carbon. Also included: 4 LST “plant training” rods, 4 internal circulation fans with six vents and protection grills, 2 fine mesh passive air intake filters, timer, grounded surge protector with both AC and USB input receptacles, cloth 5-gallon grow pot, and large, rigid water collection saucer.

This indoor grow system includes everything you need to start growing, minus the seeds, soil, and water. The GGS team provides a vetted list of online seed and soil vendors, along with personalized Concierge Service, to ensure your first grow goes smoothly. The team’s mantra is, “if you can water a houseplant, you will have success with The Armoire.” Designed and promoted as a “nurturing system,” the philosophy and grow protocol is the result of over 40 years of indoor and outdoor grow experience, tips, and tricks—including Autoflower-specific LST (Low-Stress Training) on-hands training. Although minimal, the GGS team embraces interaction with your plant–albeit just a few minutes a day. The company believes this is the best insurance, best practices, results-driven approach that professional handcrafted cultivars’ employ–brought down to a single plant, personal use scale.

If you are looking for a stylish and discreet grow box to easily grow high yielding plants in your home or apartment, The Armoire is the perfect unit to blend right in. And think about it; four ounces of top-shelf flower—including taxes (especially in metropolitan markets) equals the purchase price of The Armoire. It not only pays for itself with your first harvest, but you know—without a doubt that there are “no pesticides, no molds, and no chemical additives or nutrients.”

Whether you are an amatuer marijuana user who wants to start their very first home grow, or an experienced cannabis connoisseur looking to streamline their home grow systems, these units offer a stealthy way to embark on your own home grow.

SEEDO BY SEEDOLAB

Price: $2,499+

The Seedo resembles a high-tech mini-fridge, but features an automated hydroponic system-based technology, with automated lighting, mineral system, and CO2 enhancement.

Its most significant benefit is the efficient size and automated growing process. It sports an app that allows you to control the growth process and receive alerts.

Officially launching in 2013, the excitement behind a product like this had generated a lot of social buzz and a huge wave of initial customer orders. Seedo even managed to secure a celebrity endorsement from the High Chief himself, Snoop Dogg.

While the Seedo looks like the optimal sizing for apartments, the unit is a little on the small side, the price is a bit steep, and there isn’t any yield expectation or approximate yield guide. 

There are more ongoing costs for operation due to the consumables (nutrients, pH balancing, C02 cartridges, etc.) required for these systems, and hydroponic systems bring issues with either hard piping in plumbing or dealing with bacterial and/or algae-collecting reservoirs. 

The company claims up to 4-oz— from 4 plants. At $2,500- it will take several grows to get your money’s worth, and the actual wattage is over 250 watts (the LED alone is 144 watts, and that doesn’t include the refrigeration unit and fans.

Seedo has gotten into some hot water recently as well, according to Reddit user u/reefer-rabbi, “Seedo simply doesn’t give a ”… customers who have purchased the initial units have reported numerous systems failures and a lack of transparency from the company. Buyer beware if you decide to purchase the Seedo, if you do have a working unit, please let us know how your grow is going. 

GROBOX BY CLOUDPONICS

Price: $2,690+

GroBox is a fully automated grow device that’s completely synced with an app (IOS or Android), where you can watch and monitor the progress of your plant(s). The primary benefit of this product is the software system that makes every aspect of the growing process automated. The app includes humidity control, watering frequency, pH buffering processes, temperature regulation, LED grow light scheduling, and auto-off. This makes it as close to a “set it and forget it” unit as possible.

The dimensions are 69.75″ x 29.50″ x 30.75″, making this a sizable unit for growing indoors. You will need to plan your growing location accordingly.

It’s priced at the top of the market, but it does produce a substantial yield, up to one pound in 3 months. However, customers have repeatedly vented their frustrations — they just don’t seem to work right. Hardwood floors and/or carpeting can be ruined if water sensors fail. They tend to weigh a lot, consume a lot of power and can be overly complicated. Recently, it has been reported that the company is pivoting away from selling the units outright and starting to use them in conjunction with consulting services instead because of all the issues reported. 

The Growbox by Cloudponics is currently “sold out” on their website.

LEAF BY GET LEAF

Price: $2,690+

The LEAF grow box is the most expensive automated home grow system on the market. LEAF utilizes an app to control and automate the growing process. The unit itself includes a carbon filter, HD camera, toolbox, LED lighting, water sensing, and exchanging cartridges and air control/ nutrient system.

The typical growth for this unit is 3-4 months long and yields about 4 ounces. The unit is a decent size at 62” x 27” x 25”. The LEAF unit will use about $15-50 a month in electricity and uses around 5 gallons a week of water. The LEAF unit is very versatile in that you can add water manually, or you can hook it up directly to water plumbing, therefore never having to worry about changing the water. It looks like an industrial refrigerator, and word is that they were still not shipping after 3 years of pre-orders. (This may or may not have changed by the time of this printing). This unit also uses consumables — purchased from the company — to run efficiently. Also, like the Seedo, it has an industrial look and feels.

GROBO BY GROBO

Price: $2,199+

Canadian startup Grobo aims to create a simple home growing system that takes the guesswork out of cultivating cannabis, to help users achieve consistently high-quality results (typical yield is two ounces every three months). 

The system is sleek-designed. After adding water and seeds, the growing process is automated within the unit. Each yield can bring up to 3 oz, and the unit is reported to pay for itself in 18 months.

Aside from the process being automated, Grobo’s unit is somewhat compact at 48” x 14” x 14”, customers have a choice of the Grobo and the Grobo Premium. The base model is a sleek looking windowless grow box while for those who really want to show off their buds, the Grobo Premium offers a fluid glass window that can display your plant at the touch of a button.

SUPERSTAR SMART GROW BOX BY SUPERCLOSET

Price: $1,384+

The SuperStar Smart Grow Box is a hydroponic system that combines top feed watering and bottom feed oxygenation. Designed like a locker, built sturdy, and with a door locking mechanism, this system can be modulated to grow clones or traditional cannabis plants. The unit’s dimensions are 24” wide, 24” deep, and 60” high. The SuperStar Smart Grow Box features include a Kind LED K3 Series 2 XL300 light, dual activated carbon scrubbers, digital hygrometer and thermometer, and an adjustable internal circulation fan. Wattage is quite high, and prior grow experience is recommended.

DIY GROW BOX OR TENT

Another option for some is to individually purchase all the equipment necessary to build your own DIY grow tent or convert a space in your home to a DIY grow room. While it can be more of a process, this allows home growers to fine-tune the setup to their individual needs.

The advantages of setting up your own cannabis grow tent are mostly in the price. You can find lights, tents, pots, and nutrients all online. This is good for those who aspire to become a professional cannabis grower. Individual component warranties vary from none to “some”… If you are on a tight budget, know what you are doing and only care about price (not safety or manufacturer’s liability), this is a workable, albeit high learning curve alternative. Choosing what kind of lights you feel would best suit the size and number of plants you are looking to grow, hydro or soil, child safety, and other considerations must be part of the pros and cons of building such a system.

Not always, but often one gets what they pay for. Home grow tents can have more kinks in how they operate and be less seamless than automated systems. Another disadvantage of a DIY grow tent is you must possess the knowledge of each facet of the grow. It can be hard for the casual grower to know what pots, lights, tent, nutrients, temperature, humidity air circulation, acceptable noise levels, and the watering system is best for them and their situation. In addition, pests such as spider mites can be the norm if set up in a garage or basement.

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Celebrity Influence in Cannabis Technology

Teaming Up with Tyson: Chris Kanik, CEO of Smart Cups talks about joining forces with Tyson Ranch to introduce innovations in cannabis beverages.

Supposedly impossible technologies are usually a goldmine just waiting to happen. Through combining the power of celebrity with progressive science, Tyson Ranch and Smart Cups are developing one of the most exciting cannabis products of 2020. 

WHAT ARE SMART CUPS? HOW DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY WORK? 

While he may not walk on water, Chris Kanik, CEO of Smart Cups, had an epiphany about turning his water into alcohol at a Taco Tuesday. Instead of waiting for his drink at the bar, or even having to order one, he wanted something more accessible. He wanted to be able to use a cup of water to create his drink. Now, he has the solution. Host Kristina Etter spoke with Kanik and Rob Hickman, CEO of Tyson Ranch, about how they are making 3D printed drinks and the development of this partnership. 

By encapsulating material in a proprietary polymer blend, Smart Cups can create readymade energy drinks, alcoholic drinks, and cannabis-infused beverage. “It does a nice job at creating a shell for the ingredients and does a nice job sticking on surfaces,” Kanik said. “It’s an amphiphilic polymer, so when it comes into contact with a liquid, not just water any liquid, it releases. The shell opens up, releasing the ingredients, and there’s a self-stirring mechanism involved that then creates that beverage, so you don’t need to stir. In a couple of seconds, you have that product.” 

All that’s needed to access these products is water, as any liquid will open up the polymers, and create the beverage. Kanik figured out the science behind it by dehydrating Everclear and mixing readymade drinks in his kitchen. After he had three flavors of alcohol mix, he partnered with an inventor to figure out the polymer delivery system. Later, this experimentation would lead to an exciting deal with champion Mike Tyson. 

The polymer printing technology is meant to be a medical delivery system. Smart Cups aims to be the company that normalizes this technology and proves its value in the free-market. 

“IBM went out years ago and created IBM Watson, which is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence was like the hot thing out there, and it cost 600 million dollars to install it,” Hickman explained. “They run national commercial and everybody wondered why. They were making everyone aware of the technology, and then they started creating products from that, using AI, which then made it consumer-ready. So it’s similar, that’s why I was interested in [Kanik], and what he was doing, it was very similar to that.” 

WHAT MAKES SMART CUPS SO INNOVATIVE? 

While the partnership between Smart Cups and Tyson Ranch will lead to CBD products shortly after the ruling on whether or not people can consume CBD in America, there’s more in the works. “When I looked at the cannabis space, I viewed it more through a pharmaceutical lens,” Kanik stated. 

The delivery system behind Smart Cups allows for specific formulations of any reasonable materials. Realistically, Smart Cups would be able to contain specific cannabinoid concentrations, such as CBG or CBC content, that would be ideal for dosing. Cannabis research and prescription have been held back by inferior dosing methods for decades. This delivery system might give a significant push for the modernization of cannabis dosing. 

“I realized there was a deficiency in dosing solutions in the industry,” Kanik said. “So I thought that this would be a perfect solution that could help further legitimize the industry and make it even more mainstream from a medicinal standpoint because if you’re a doctor, how do you tell your patients to take this? What’s the proper dosage?” 

While Smart Cups will be an excellent medical tool, their recreation value is also apparent, and not to be underrated. Combined with the star power behind the ranch and other collaborations, the technology behind Smart Cups is ready to burst into the mainstream. 

WHY DO SMART CUPS HAVE ONE OF THE BEST SHOTS? 

Even without Mike Tyson’s return to fighting on September 12th, 2020, he is one of the most famous Americans ever to live. Having his ranch as a serious partner means that Smart Cups are already enjoying household brand legitimacy. Other partners mentioned by Hickman include William Shatner, and so the limit of the reach of these companies is literally up in the stars. 

The old world of cannabis is dying. No longer is it to be bought behind dumpsters from teenagers looking to replace a broken guitar amp. Now the future of cannabis lies within convenient delivery methods, consistent dosing, and major celebrities. Acceptance is here in that we know it’s profitable. Now it’s just up for the entrepreneurs to get cannabis in pantries and medicine cabinets across the world.