ROBOTS AND DRONES ENTER THE CANNABIS BUSINESS

Security systems, cameras and armed guards have dominated the cash-rich cannabis business since the inception of legal medical and recreational marijuana laws.  Recently, drones and robots have been introduced to defend against outside threats to businesses’ valuable and vulnerable assets as well as to minimize the often-costly consequences of human error.

Mechanically, robots and droids can conduct a complex series of actions automatically and efficiently with the capability of alerting human monitors when they detect that something is wrong.   They differ from armed guards because they ‘don’t shoot back at intruders’ and ‘can take a gunshot better than humans’’.  Though there is a chance that they will soon arm the robots with pepper spray.

Canndescent, a grow in Desert Hot Springs uses Hardcar Security to monitor and secure the perimeter of their site. A UGV, or Unmanned Ground Vehicle, made by a group called Intellos, provides the evening patrol and delivers more assurance than the visions of a lonely night guard falling asleep or playing video games at his post.

Recently, Eaze, a cannabis delivery company demonstrated the use of a drone at the Cannabis Cup in San Bernadino.  A spokesperson for the company said “We see it in the future.  It’s on the horizon”.

Automation seems to be all over the industry.  Smokey Point Productions in Washington has automated the seeding, feeding and trimming processes in their cultivation business and find it to be incredibly efficient.  “This saves me from having a person mix the nutrients and do it manually”.  A person however is used to place the product in a package but then the machine finishes the process when it seals, bar codes and counts the packages.

With the industry on a trajectory to very rapid increased growth, it only follows that the size of grow operations and delivery warehouses will need to embrace automation and the use of newer more efficient ways to deal with their volume and demand for speed.

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Sessions Signals Cannabis Complaisance

Deciphering Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks on cannabis is critical to anticipating the future trajectory of the cannabis industry. Mr. Sessions has long been a cannabis opponent. Consequently, his appointment to Attorney General created worry throughout the cannabis industry. Mr. Sessions began to allay these worries shortly after his appointment by calling the enforcement priorities in Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole’s 2014 memorandum titled Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement (the “Cole Memo”) “truly valuable” and “valid.” On April 26, 2017, Mr. Sessions offered the cannabis industry further hope after his meeting with Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper.

Governor Hickenlooper reported Mr. Sessions was receptive to communicating with him and Governors Brown (OR), Walker (AK) and Inslee (WA) before making changes to the current cannabis regulatory and enforcement systems. Further, according to Governor Hickenlooper, Mr. Sessions is “reviewing the Cole Memo” and working on “a version … that makes sense for [the Trump] administration.” The Attorney General also stated one of his greatest concerns with respect to cannabis is increased drug consumption. Governor Hickenlooper reassured Mr. Sessions that in Colorado, recreational cannabis legalization has not caused a large spike in consumption, especially amongst teens.

When asked about increased federal enforcement, the Attorney General responded “well you haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?” According to Governor Hickenlooper, Mr. Sessions’ responses indicate the Department of Justice’s (the “DEA”) drug enforcement priorities will focus on hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine. Although Mr. Sessions is “not going to, in any way, encourage anyone to start a marijuana business,” he did not “give [Governor Hickenlooper] any reason to think that [the DEA] is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business.”

Though Governor Hickenlooper’s account of his meeting with Mr. Sessions is reassuring, it also reiterates the critical importance of compliance for cannabis businesses. To ensure their success, these businesses must take advantage of compliance platforms like PayQwick, whose comprehensive compliance assessment programs incorporate all applicable federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines. By making compliance a priority, these businesses can worry less about federal crackdowns and focus more on their businesses.

by Ken Berke PayQwick