Editor’s note: Alex Thiersch is a managing principal of Salveo Capital, a private equity firm dedicated to investing in and developing the legal marijuana industry.
Marijuana has come a long way in the United States since California launched its first-in-the-nation medical program 19 years ago. Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis to some degree, and public perception of the plant is clearly shifting. Medical marijuana is being used in treatment of a variety of illnesses including several types of seizures, cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.
New polls by Gallup, Beyond the Beltway, and General Social Survey all show that for the first time since its prohibition, a majority of Americans support legalization of the plant. Change is coming to the American cannabis industry, and it’s time to prepare for it in earnest.
Marijuana is now on the cusp of mainstream legitimacy, and established business interests are beginning to work with the initial trailblazers of the American cannabis market. Further, while technological innovation is revolutionizing everyindustry, breakthrough ideas in a market as young this one have the chance to become defining cornerstones. Early-to-market products and solutions are seeing widespread adoption in absence of entrenched industry leaders.
New technology firms are playing a major part in increasing the efficiency, transparency, and security of the legal cannabis market. MJ Freeway, BioTrack THC, and Agrisoft have all developed software to track the plant from seed-to-sale, protecting the integrity of the supply chain at every step. Additionally, I constantly see proposals from developers aiming to find new ways to connect grower to sellers and sellers to consumers.
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