The cannabis industry is just now finding its footing, as many markets continue to develop throughout the U.S. and beyond. The industry has managed to transform into a multi-billion dollar market, but difficulties are still abound with federal legislation and various regulatory measures going up against the market. Because of this federal legislation, it has become increasingly more difficult to do research on new technologies for the market. As the industry continues to grow, more and more tech is being produced in a space that needs it more than anything.
In the state of Oregon, which is widely considered to be one of the pioneering sites for cannabis legislation, weed has been legal for twenty years medicinally, and almost four years recreationally. Oregon has since become the epicenter for a wide range of new technologies and practices in the cannabis industry. Amy Margolis, the founder of the marijuana Ted Talk known as Toke Talks, stated that “The concept that ‘the future of cannabis is now’ [comes from the fact that] some things in this industry feel kind of sh*tty. Instead of focusing on policy or what the market looks like, we wanted to think about what the cannabis world could be like, and should be like in the future.”
Margolis is a widely respected attorney in Oregon, who has brought together a series of industry leaders to lead talks around the state. Many things have been deduced from these talks but the most prominent continues to be that new technology will change the industry by allowing scientists to research cannabis further. If cannabis is able to be decriminalized around the country, it will likely also lead to a boom in the market, helping to find new treatments for diseases while also drastically boosting state economies.
A project known as the Walk Again Project began testing the use of brain implants that allow paraplegic people to control exoskeletons with their minds back in 2013. The project has since included the use of virtual reality to help with the transition. Peter Lund, a speaker at the Toke Talks and the CEO of the virtual reality firm, stated that “all of the patients were reclassified as partially paralyzed by the end of the study, they had all regained bladder control. This is an extreme jump in quality of life. The media talks to our brains in completely new ways. It is a measurable mind-altering substance.” Lund states that the use of cannabis is highly integrated into the program to help individuals not only adjust to the new program but also deal with pain management issues. Cannabis has largely helped individuals to control their bodies with this technology in an easier way. Technology like this continues to change lives on the individual level.
Although there is a large amount of technology being produced to change the space completely on cannabis, it seems as though federal prohibition is continuing to block new innovation. In the U.S. it is still extremely difficult to study cannabis and its effects. If cannabis were decriminalized, it would effectively allow individuals to study the plant and possibly figure out new cures to diseases and ailments popular around the world. New legislation is in the works to help aid the future of the cannabis market. The hopes are high that these new pieces of legislation will continue to change the space in terms of accessibility to research and the ability to innovate in the market. Only time will tell how well these new technologies can be implemented given the current state of legislation within the U.S. and in many places around the world.