When you think of tech, chances are you rarely do so in connection with weed. Cannabis tends to stereo-typically bring up images of joints, cookies, and deep relaxation. With the growing momentum towards legalization for both medical and recreational use around the country, there have been recent cannabis industry changes that seek to bring in innovations that make for safer, and more enjoyable consumer experience.
Scratch and Sniff Packaging
One of the most interesting tech ideas is scratch and sniff cannabis packaging. This concept design is currently being considered for patenting by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As the name suggests, it features stickers that offer a representative scent of what is inside the packaging. In several states, retailers are required to offer their products in vacuum-sealed, childproof packaging. This strict regulation is a problem for shoppers who are denied the opportunity to get a whiff of the product before they purchase.
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Scent is an important characteristic to consider when choosing a strain. It leaves the buyer handicapped as they don't get to consider the full range of traits that makes one bud differ from the others. This inability to assess quality is also problematic for many medical marijuana users. Some conditions respond differently to certain scents, especially those that suffer from migraines, seizures, and insomnia.
The packaging is expected to help customers make better-informed decisions on their product while allowing the manufacturers and dispensaries to adhere to the secure packaging regulations. This idea proposes two approaches to conveying the right scent.
~ The first involves using terpenes to ensure the patient is getting a good sample of the scent of the cannabis. Terpenes are non-intoxicating compounds from the plant that carry its taste and smell.
~ The second approach would make use of a variety of flavor notes to bring out the qualities of the cannabis.
This is often done in winemaking and tasting. Some of the flavors that the applicants for the patent listed include vanilla, fresh-cut grass, cinnamon, bacon, the seaside, and bread.
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While this idea is new to the cannabis industry, a similar patent is also being considered for coffee packaging. The applicants for the cannabis option do however insist that their idea is different in that it gives the scent of the cannabis in its unsmoked form, while the other patent gives the scent of the coffee when already brewed.
The QR Codes
Another one of the most progressive advances in the cannabis industry is the QR codes to aid in distinguishing licensed and unlicensed retailers. Licensed retailers receive a unique QR code that identifies them and their location. Authorities in California are encouraging shop owners to take advantage of this cannabis technology by printing out and pasting their codes in visible areas like shopfront windows. In this way, consumers can scan the QR code with their smartphones and easily get verification that the store they are at is properly licensed.
Once scanned, the code takes the smartphone user to the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) Online License Search. It will bring up the retailer's license status, address, and location. The address and location will allow the buyer to verify that the code has not been duplicated.
California's State Commitment to the Cannabis Industry
California has become quite aggressive in trying to ensure that consumers source their cannabis only from licensed dispensaries. It has been viewed as a health and safety issue as licensed establishments are required to have their product lab tested for purity and potency. Members of the public have been warned via the state's 'Get #weedwise' campaign that cannabis bought from the unregulated black market could be contaminated with chemicals, fecal matter, and mold. The campaign also takes aim at unlicensed operators that are warned that they face seizure of their cash and goods if caught. This is no idle threat as 45 search warrants were issued against illegal operators in Los Angeles in December 2019, proving the state's commitment to ensuring public safety and curtail a damaging and escalating black market.
The campaign that was launched in June 2019, has been shared across different channels including digital media platforms, outdoor advertising, events, and public outreach programs. This initiative has elicited strong support from licensed operators who are facing stiff competition from a black market that is said to be three times as large as the legal California cannabis market.
QR Code Image By: Mitya Ivanov