How software could enhance transparency in cannabis cultivation – and help speed up the legalization process
In 2014, digital entrepreneur and former grow-worker Kyle Sherman spotted a niche in the market for tracking software that simplified the cannabis supply chain process. The result was Flowhub (https://flowhub.co/), which has since won multiple awards and attracted customers from big retailers in medicinal and recreational cannabis. We asked for Kyle’s top lessons learned about the cannabis industry.
Professionalism and transparency are key
When I joined this industry, I realized that while there was a lot of passion, there wasn’t a whole lot of professionalism. There was no custom software platform that could collate mandatory compliance data and report it back to the government automatically – mistakes were being made, issues were reported incorrectly, information was incomplete. I saw that if we built something customized to the industry, we could solve a lot of problems. I started to build prototypes and workflows for the grow I worked at, and quickly realized that this could be used by the entire industry. I felt that if we could increase transparency, governments would be more likely to legalize cannabis in their localities – which means easier access to medicine.
Technology plays a vital role
We noticed early on that lot of people in the industry don’t necessarily have supply chain access, but are really passionate about legalization. We’ve really had to understand how they interact with technology, so that they could get their data out of the system easily, automate elements, increase efficiencies, and ultimately become better at their jobs. That’s why we created the NUG – a handheld device. We went from pencil and paper to a scanner. With Flowhub’s Cloud, we’re essentially able to take all the data, aggregate it, and send it up to the state government on their behalf. It makes a big difference...
There’s still a lot to learn
We’re not just building a business; we’re building an industry. For us, it’s about defining the future by working closely with retailers and growers, and understanding their needs day-to-day. We need to anticipate where the industry is going and drive things in a more efficient direction logistically. It’s a collaborative effort, going out and learning these lessons, finding these problems and solving them. Each day in cannabis is like a month in another industry – it’s so fast moving.
Advocacy is the lifeblood of the industry
We’ve got to push this forward and it starts with the users – people who have been helped by the medicinal side of cannabis. I have been helped by cannabis myself – that’s why I’m in this industry. I’ve met cancer patients, people with arthritis and Parkinson’s, and all of them have seen such a huge benefit. I think a lot of companies don’t know why they do what they do every day, but with Flowhub we all have a real reason to wake up in the morning: to help bring access to this medication to people across the country, and show people that it’s something that we can do responsibly. It’s a great thing to be a part of.