How Data is Transforming the Cannabis Industry

Did you know that data-driven companies are 58% more likely to exceed their revenue goals than organizations that are not data-driven? That statistic comes from a Forrester Consulting study, and numerous research studies over the past several years have found similar results. Therefore, it’s not surprising that data has become a critical part of the cannabis industry. 

According to McKinsey & Co., “By 2025, smart workflows and seamless interactions among humans and machines will likely be as standard as the corporate balance sheet, and most employees will use data to optimize nearly every aspect of their work.” If that prediction is correct, then businesses have just a couple of years to become data-driven or they may be left behind.

Already, cannabis and cannabis-related businesses are transforming the cannabis industry using data, and the importance of reliable data that can be analyzed and used for decision-making will continue to grow. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways data is already transforming the cannabis industry from seed to sale.

Data and Cannabis Cultivation

For cannabis cultivators, data helps with everything from conserving resources to maximizing plant health and crop yields. For example, cultivators use a variety of tools and software products to steer their crops, improve growth consistency, maximize cannabinoids and terpenes, and control potency. All of these tools and software products rely on data to help cultivators streamline processes, reduce costs, and optimize their facilities and harvests.

Tools and software can provide cultivators with data related to temperature, light exposure, water, nutrients, and more. All of this data can be used to ensure plants grow in the optimal environment and get exactly the right amount of light, water, and nutrients they need to be as healthy as possible and grow to their fullest potential.

For example, Meter Group is a company that has built tools and software that enables cultivators to improve their plant health and yields while boosting productivity and reducing costs. As Scott Campbell, Meter Group CEO, explained on a recent episode of Cannabiz Media’s Cannacurio Podcast, his company’s software helps cultivators answer the critical question, “How do I consistently and with the highest quality, increase my grams per square foot per year of product that I'm making? At Meter Group, we take that data and, using our software, customers can increase their productivity and quality throughout their entire processes, whether it's on the cultivation side or on the post-harvest processing side.”


Data and Cannabis Manufacturing and Distribution

As manufacturers turn raw cannabis plant material into a variety of products for consumers to buy, data plays many different roles. For example, data can help manufacturers reduce waste, improve environmental conditions during processing, improve staffing processes, reduce costs, and so much more.

For example, ePac Flexible Packaging is a packaging company operating in the cannabis space that uses data to help its customers in a number of different ways. Using environmental data, the company is currently working on technology to maintain humidity over the course of a cannabis product’s lifetime. 

In addition, Ryan Kiley, Director of Market Development at ePac Flexible Packaging, recently appeared on the Cannacurio podcast and shared information about how his company is working to bring the next level of connected packaging, which relies entirely on data, to the cannabis industry. He said, “QR codes are one thing. There are RFID tags, and there are other technologies that will come over time, but the notion of giving a consumer access to more information beyond just the packaging graphics is what's critically important. 

“We start first with consumer engagement. Number two is transparency and track and trace, which means I'm trying to tell customers a story about the origin of what they're about to consume, perhaps. That transcends everything. And then last is counterfeiting – so, protecting a company's profits. And then, the other side of that is protecting a consumer's confidence in your product.”


Data and Cannabis Retail

At the retail level, data is important for regulatory compliance, consumer safety, and ensuring consumers have access to the products they want on store shelves. All of the data about cannabis plants, products, and customer sales can be used to track from seed to sale in order to achieve regulators’ goals and businesses’ goals. 

For example, Metrc Chief Operating Officer Lewis Koski appeared on the Cannabiz Media Cannacurio podcast and explained how his company uses data to track products from seed to sale, which creates consumer confidence and confidence in the regulatory framework. 

He shared, “The way the system works is as a sophisticated, centralized database that licensees in the regulated community report all of their product into, not just the product itself, but where it originated from, how long it was in a vegetative state, how long it was in a flowering state, when it was harvested, when it was tested. All those things are captured when the licensees report that information in the system – all the way until it becomes a product that is ready for a consumer to purchase.

“In seed-to-sale tracking, we collect upwards of 370 different unique events in the supply chain. Then, the state agency has a clear view into what's happening in the industry, so they can monitor and regulate efficiently. So licensees have efficient ways to be able to report into the state, and the state has efficient ways to be able to pull the data out.”


Key Takeaways about How Data is Transforming the Cannabis Industry

We’re still at the early stages of realizing how data can transform the cannabis industry, and many more innovations will launch in the coming years. The one thing we do know for certain is that the importance of data, making data-driven decisions, and being a data-driven company will continue to grow. Every business should be developing strategies and repeatable processes to collect data, store it, make it usable, analyze it, and leverage it for better decision-making. It’s not too late to get started.

For more stories about how businesses are using data in the cannabis industry, listen to the archive of Cannacurio podcast episodes!

When it comes to data about cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S., Canada, and international markets, Cannabiz Media has the most comprehensive, verified data available to subscribers of the Cannabiz Media License Database. And for data related to mergers, acquisitions, finance, patient data, wholesale prices, and other business insights, Cannabiz Media makes it accessible through its Cannabiz Intelligence™ product. Schedule a demo and see how you can use the data available in Cannabiz Media’s database tools to grow your business.

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