IoT in Cannabis Farming
India is slowly but surely on its way to legalizing medical marijuana with the country’s first medical cannabis clinic opened in Bangalore on 1st February 2020. It is only a matter of time before a whole new tech vertical – “cannatech” starts to explode where the cannabis industry will look for cutting-edge technologies to intervene in the agricultural and business aspects of their market.
Growers, manufacturers and retailers in the cannabis farming business face a number of hurdles including high taxes, refusal or reluctance from banks, and competition from the black market. Needless to say, they require an efficient and streamlined operation to keep the budget and focus on their product. This is where IoT (Internet of Things) can come into play.
How can IoT be linked to the cannabis farming business?
As more and more players start Cannabis Farming, they will use technology to ease their labor, make it more feasible and improve crop outputs. Technology will also be needed in shops to cope up with the legal demand and improve the customer shopping experience. IoT companies can step in here to fill the gaps and optimize every process from crop management to distribution.
Applications of IoT in cannabis farming:
- Marijuana cultivation
The cultivation of marijuana is always extremely sensitive and difficult as a number of factors can lead to their death. As only female flowers produce the cannabinoid compound which is needed for the manufacturing process, the formation of male flowers used for hemp is also a hurdle. Along with maintaining these delicate conditions, growers will also be under additional pressure to produce high yield as legal demand increases.
To handle this pressure, IoT is being employed for better management of the crops. For example, agricultural sensors can create a connected cannabis farming system where the environment can be manipulated for cannabis growth.
With the help of IoT, growers can
- fix thermostats
- add temperature controls
- incorporate humidity sensors and
- set up scheduled watering and light cycles to ensure the best conditions for the growth of the plant.
Benefit: IoT technology enables cannabis farmers to access smart measurement tools (wireless mesh networks, sensors, automated greenhouses, smart irrigation systems, etc.) and manipulate conditions of growth via smartphones, tablets and computers. The data from these operations can be recorded and used further to build up predictive analysis for future crop yields.
- Operation of Seed-to-Sale system
Due to the high sensitivity of Cannabis Farming, some legalization laws stipulate a regulation known as a seed-to-sale system to track the distribution procedure step by step. IoT can play a huge role hereby,
- being used for tracking IDs including barcodes, RFID tags and other metrics for identification of germinating plants.
- used for further tracking of the entire growth harvesting, drying and wholesale process
- giving growers and retailers access to information on each plant/product by a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.
- allowing the growers to identify issues such as misuse or abuse of the plant during the varied steps of the procedure i.e. introducing transparency to the supply chain.
Benefit: A central, connected controlled environment using IoT is the best way for manufacturers to streamline and automate a variety of tasks across the supply chain, from management to distribution to transport and also those related to food documentation and safety which, if done manually, would otherwise incur a huge financial cost. Using sensors and other IoT-related devices, facilities can create a comprehensive data environment that is dynamic and accessible from anywhere.
The cannabis farming business or “cannatech” is all set to expand into a major next-gen tech-vertical and there is no doubt that IoT will be along for the ride!
Thingstel’s next-generation controlled environment has temperature sensors with increased intelligence, reliability and improved accuracy specifications are easy-to-use and come fully-calibrated with a temperature-compensated digital output. You can always reach out to us in case you have any questions or simply want to know more!
Read our blog on Predictive Maintenance here