Published on February 7, 2017
CEO & Creative Director at Cannvas
Federal prohibition segregates cannabis and technology.
Complex banking regulation suffocates cash flow.
Research discoveries are suppressed and hidden.
Social media shutdowns are routine procedure.
Simply stated; making progress in the cannabis industry is really difficult right now.
This professional canna-bigotry is due to marijuana’s (mis)classification as a Schedule I substance. Domestic and international companies
Most of the country supports cannabis legalization. Yet, it still remains illegal.
Prohibition causes unnecessary and inefficient problems for the industry – and the nation.
We need to end prohibition and build the industry right to realize the potential of cannabis.
Companies, consumers, patients, and citizens will all benefit from proper legalization.
1) Banking and FinTech access sucks. Cash-only operations are unsafe.
Cannabis companies cannot access basic banking and financial technologies normally.
Federal prohibition restricts most banks from serving companies related to cannabis in any way. Even ancillary companies (that don’t touch the plant) are still neglected.
And legislative progress for cannabis banking created at the state level is stomped out by federal government.
In Colorado, state banking officials approved a charter for the first “Cannabis Bank” ever – A credit union named The Fourth Corner (TFCCU).
However, final admin approval at the federal level is continuously denied… The cannabis bank cannot operate without it.
Financial restrictions force cannabis companies two directions:
- Option A – Companies operate cash only. Sometimes moving hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.
- Option B – Companies pursue private banking opportunities at the state level and operate within financial loopholes.
Neither of these options are ideal.
According to Bloomberg Business, less than 3% of banks in America accept cannabis cash. Which means employees and individuals must move billions of dollars in cash regularly. These are extremely unsafe conditions and procedures.
A new “cannabis security” industry is emerging because of this problem. Ventures like Canna Security America provide comprehensive security services to keep staff, customers, and citizens safe.
But cannabis companies shouldn’t have to hire armed security services for safety… If customers were allowed to just swipe a damn debit card at any dispensary, the context of cannabis will be safer.
Modern banking technology is essential to all modern companies. Why are cannabis companies forced into awkward and unsafe restrictions?
It is unrealistic to make companies to operate under such irrational conditions. Especially while being taxed so heavily.
2) Awkward and vague regulations change often.
Cannabis companies pour capital into compliance. The “cover your ass” attitude is necessary in the ever-shifting regulations and requirements.
Brands balance between state legality and federal prohibition. New laws can make, break, or change business models overnight.
In addition to operational regulation, cannabis companies must abide to marketing and advertising restrictions. They cannot reach audiences like most other businesses.
Traditional companies in America spend millions on marketing and advertising – with minimal restrictions. TV, Facebook, Google, Instagram – pretty much whatever they want. But cannabis related companies can’t participate. (Yet.)
Instead, cannabis companies navigate complex layers of ambiguous regulation. Many areas of requirements are unclear, unrealistic, or nonexistent.
Large companies like Google and Facebook restrict ads for anything and everything cannabis-related.
And to be fair, they are just protecting their companies. Most of these policies are indirectly due to federal prohibition.
National brands fear the possible repercussions of the federal government. So they cover their ass by following suit with whatever the government says at the time.
This creates a contradicting scenario for companies and states… Selling cannabis is legal – but advertising cannabis is tricky.
Beyond regulation, cannabis companies are often pushed around by the “big boys” of media and technology.
- Facebook, Instagram, and social media giants shut down cannabis-related accounts constantly.
- CBS vetoes the first cannabis ad in Times Square on a billboard they don’t even own.
- TechCrunch disqualifies MassRoots from competition after winning popular vote.
I see new stories like those every week. It’s seriously like industrial level bigotry or bullying.
3) Research and development efforts are limited and discouraged.
Cannabis companies cannot complete high-level research and development.
Innovation research and medical studies require strict government approval or federal funding – which is often denied.
But here’s the weird part. The federal government already knows cannabis research will benefit society… The federal government owns the patent to use cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Yet, they still suppress innovative discoveries.
Back in the 70’s, the US government discovered THC can shrink cancerous tumors. But political forces swept this research under the rug.
Why? Because it did not support the agenda for “The War on Drugs.”
Modern research reinforced the discovery again in 2000.
Spanish scientists successfully destroyed “uncurable” brain tumors with THC (an active component of cannabis).
But you probably didn’t see this story in America. That’s because the rev
olutionary research was censored and ignored by major media outlets.
The neglected study from Madrid was named the “Top Censored Story” of 2000 by Project Censored
Today, American government is still putting up roadblocks for research.
In 2015, Congress shut down federal research on medical marijuana yet again.
This is an absurd problem. Is our own government suppressing the potential power of cannabis intentionally?
The medical benefits of cannabis and technology deserve to be discovered and delivered to the people.
Let’s take a closer look at the potential of marrying cannabis and technology.
Throughout history, technology innovations pave the path for industries to leverage and build upon.
But unfortunately, cannabis companies are restricted from leveraging existing technologies.
While most American companies sit on the shoulders of giants, cannabis companies barely get to stand on on the big toe of that giant.
Even worse – companies that “touch the plant” are restricted by regulations and fear of prosecution. Which means new innovations in the industry are often discouraged or dismissed.
This type of environment creates irrational risk for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. It discourages progress and big ideas..
Instead, we must cultivate an environment for encouraging positive growth and development.
Imagine what we will gain when the cannabis industry can leverage the entire spectrum of modern technologies with less restriction.
1) Companies will focus on improving products and services.
Cannabis companies will devote more time and energy to optimize the customer experience. Products and services will be fixed, upgraded, and optimized over time.
Currently, cannabis companies spend TONS of time, money, and energy navigating a shit-show of regulations and compliance.
Intense, time-consuming administrative projects ensure the entire business isn’t stripped away.
This energy could be (and should be) spent better.
Internal resources should be used to enhance product development, improve services, and innovate the customer experience.
Cannabis companies deserve the right to allocate their bandwidth more efficiently.
2) Companies will mature their marketing (and targeting).
Marketing and advertising will experience noticeable maturity. Companies will focus on more specific target audiences with hyper-detailed precision.
Cannabis companies will target consumers and patients better.
From stereotypical “stoners” to critically concerned medical patients… Proper access to modern marketing and targeting technology will enhance the customer experience.
Customer archetypes, strain-matching, and advanced targeting tools will be standard in the industry. Apps like PotBot will offer custom product recommendations based on user preferences.
Technology allows brands to target the exact type of users best-fit for their product. In the end, that is better for both the consumers and the companies.
But most technologies will be inaccessible or restricted until prohibition is lifted.
Federal prohibition sets the tone for large companies and advertising platforms to follow suit regarding cannabis. And the current advertising restrictions make it extremely difficult for companies to capture targeted audiences.
Cannabis pioneers experience difficulty building and marketing effective, creative and compliant campaigns.
3) Research will unlock the power of the endocannabinoid system.
This is the big kahuna.
The endocannabinoid system is the untapped holy grail of cannabis and medicine.
It could be one the missing key needed to treat, manage, or cure many conditions in the medical community.
The endocannabinoid system is revolutionary. But we are only in the early stages of discovery. Many experts predict mastering the ECS will mark a new era of healthcare.
From cancer, to epilepsy, to simple chronic pain or nausea… The endocannabinoid system is directly related to the biological balance of humans.
Currently, we are just scratching the surface of possibilities. But the convergence of cannabis and medical technology is well under way.
With proper funding, and federal approval, hundreds of medical benefits will be discovered. The full potential of can be literally life-saving.
Cannabis will soon develop its identity as a wellness product.
And canna-pharmaceuticals may be the future of healthcare.
The solution is simple.
Federal prohibition is ineffective. We need to marry cannabis and modern technologies.
Nationwide legalization will enable better access to existing technologies – while encouraging innovation and safety.
Companies, consumers, and citizens will all benefit from legalizing cannabis.
And we can build the industry right.
Let’s do this.