Interview: With Brett Macomber From Cannakins Consulting
Many of us would agree that technology plays a huge role in society today. Recently, cannabis has begun to rise in society and now we’re at the point of connecting these two markets. I interviewed Brett Macomber from Cannakins to tell us a bit about how these two industries connect.
Brett, let’s start by giving readers some context about who you are, how you started Cannakins and what you do for the industry.
Growing up, most of my family had their own successful businesses and I wanted to be just like them. I ended up with a construction company in the Midwest building all kinds of structures in the area. Fast forward to years later, just after the economic troubles of the early 2000s, with no construction opportunities to be found I had to pivot.
Having an affinity for technology that wasn’t being scratched in the construction industry, I went back to school and got a degree in business/technology. After graduation, I embarked upon a corporate IT career and learned how to leverage technology for businesses of any size in many different industries.
Cannakins was founded in response to cannabis business owners asking if I would be open to supporting them. At that time, I was engaged in cyber security consulting for a major healthcare provider. After doing research and asking around it became apparent IT services and consulting are definitely a need in the industry. And so Cannakins is positioned to offer standard and advanced IT services found in any other industry to our cannabis colleagues.
Where does technology and cannabis meet exactly? What’s the value of integrating a technology expert like yourself?
Tech and cannabis meet on a daily basis in business these days. With prohibition, cannabis was illegal and the tech solutions other businesses in the legitimate landscape enjoyed were unattainable, or at the very least used under the radar. What “drug dealer” could call up 1-800-tech-support and complain about their internet being out, computers being infected with malware, find a CRM system to use, or whatever the case may have been?
Therein lies the value today! Legal business owners have gained access to a support ecosystem already in place but only recently available because of the previously illegal nature of the products. Cannabis ventures now create mobile/web applications, e-commerce sites, need office productivity software, cyber security, physical security, cultivation operations are going automated, and the list goes on and on.
From your perspective, what systems are important for dispensaries?
The standard systems that any business would need to succeed plus some cannabis specific solutions that are mandated by regulations.
- Firewalls, wireless access for business and customer, point-of-sale, printers
- Security cameras
- Business productivity like CRM and loyalty software
- Online ordering/fulfillment platforms
- Track and trace
- Time keeping and accounting solutions
Is everything automated?
Not even close. But the industry is in a position to make great strides in automation as it matures. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some enterprising cultivators who have already integrated their own apps to manage grows while they are away. Fully automated grows remotely managed via mobile devices, amazing!
How do cannabis technologies and POS systems work with the supply chain & track and trace?
Unfortunately they work together very poorly today, if at all! But the idea is that seeds/plants are entered into track/trace and monitored throughout the cultivation process. After harvest, products are transferred to distribution companies who are engaged to move the product from grow, to testing, and on to either processing or retailers depending on the final product. This step is also supposed to be monitored by track/trace. Once products get to retail or sales channels track/trace is required once again to align customer purchases with products.
The current state of the industry is all these different parts of the supply chain are supposed to be using an overarching track/trace solution. BUT, there is a lot of manual work that has to be done transferring data between the disparate systems being used. Technology could be used to streamline or even automate the flow from start to finish but we aren’t there yet.
What is the future of technology and cannabis?
As the industry matures, barriers are eliminated or greatly reduced, and the stigma of cannabis fades we will see a burst of technology funded and necessitated by the industry. There are so many ideas and opportunities coming across my desk every day that will be realized in the future. It is an exciting time to be positioned in the cannabis tech space!
Thank you Brett for sharing your knowledge on the value of technology in the cannabis industry.