March 27, 2015

The Next Great Startup HIGH-dea

by Josh McBroom

The newly-legal cannabis industry is in the news a lot lately, and for good reason: it's America's fastest growing industry, expected to grow by 64% in 2015 and create 200,000 new jobs. But as the saying goes, oh-so popular amongst entrepreneurs, "You can mine for gold, or you can sell pickaxes." The people who made the most money in the good ole days of the California Gold Rush weren't those panning for gold, but rather the ones supplying them. While businesses today are FAR more savvy than the prospectors of yore, there's still a lot of validity to the saying.

What we're doing at GrassRoots Hackathon is creating an event where people passionate about technology and cannabis can join forces to make the digital pickaxes for this new Gold Rush - the Green Rush. There are a bunch of problems still un-solved (or under-solved!) in the emerging infrastructure of the newly-legal cannabis industry. Cy Scott, cofounder of Leafly, put it quite succinctly: "The cannabis industry has many unmet needs and missing services, a perfect space for entrepreneurs to come in and accelerate adoption of cannabis recreationally and medically"

Here's our growing list of a few of those problems, submitted from people in the cannabis industry:

Software/hardware to automate cannabis grow-ops
3D printing with hemp-crete
Resistive heating elements for vaporizers
Hemp & cannabis compounding software
Open-source wiki on cannabis (StickyIckyWiki?)
Affordable small-scale lab equipment to test quality in-house
"Breathalyzer" for cannabis
Mobile apps for cannabis users

We know there are a lot more problems than that, and we want to help solve them. Hit us up with your suggestions on Twitter at @hackGrassRoots, or email us at