How Canadian entrepreneurs are using technology to sell more marijuana

Putting the “high” in high-tech



The marijuana laws in Canada are changing and the entrepreneurs are already lining up to take advantage. And many of them are using technology—some old and some new—to peddle their wares.

In British Columbia, the B.C. Pain Society opened up a pot vending machine just a few weeks ago. For $50, buyers can get a half-ounce baggie dispensed in just a few seconds, much like they would a chocolate bar or bag of chips. Besides the convenience, at least one aficionado says the prices are a steal.

The machine is technically illegal, according to Health Canada, because the B.C. Pain Society doesn’t keep tabs on who’s buying or how much. New pot laws that came into force on April 1 allow for people with official prescriptions to buy marijuana from approved suppliers. The machine apparently skirts or contravenes several requirements.

On the more straight-and-narrow front, there’s Canvas RX, a new website that seeks to connect prescription holders with official suppliers. All you do is select your symptom and the site returns a list of suppliers and strains that might be right for you.

Selecting “stress,” for example, turns up 17 different types of weed from four different suppliers, such as Afghani Bull Rider from the Whistler Medical Marijuana Company.

“CanvasRX operates much like an online marijuana pharmacy,” says co-founder Ronan Levy in a release heralding the site’s launch. “Because pharmacies in Canada cannot carry marijuana and the dispensary model is prohibited by the regulations, we step into fill the knowledge gap by providing patients and doctors with the information and resources they need to best utilize this treatment option.”

Meanwhile, the federal government is leaning toward decriminalizing weed while some opposition parties are pushing for full legalization, much like what has happened in U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington. One can only imagine what new types of businesses will arise should further steps be taken.

Colorado’s legal dispensaries raked in a whopping $14 million in sales in their first month alone—what happens when some enterprising individuals start applying things like mobile apps and robots to the business?

READ: How big business will make billions on the legalization of pot