What about those employed in the cannabis industry? Not according to a recent article on Seedo, “an Israeli and Maryland based startup that claims to be able to quadruple the yield of traditional cannabis grows using climate-controlled chambers run by robots.” According to a news release dated March 19, 2019, Seedo has partnered with Kibbutz Dan in Northern Israel to establish the first fully automated, commercial-scale, pesticide-free containerized cannabis farm in Israel. You can watch the video here.
Seedo claims that its airtight, stackable containers will take the guesswork out of the cultivation process, optimize land-use, and reduce the environmental footprint of the farming operations. Oh – and each container can produce at least 326 pounds of dry cannabis bud per year.
Meanwhile an April 2019 cover story by Marijuana Business Magazine that surveys salaries across the cannabis industry indirectly highlights the benefits of moving to automation. The article notes that at nearly every level of the cannabis industry people tend to earn more than their mainstream counterparts and that for most companies, payroll is the biggest expense.
We would add that payroll aside, employees are often the greatest source of risk for cannabis businesses which are generally held strictly liable for the actions of their employees. This means one bad hire can put at risk an investment millions of dollars. We see this all the time with so-called “consultants,” who offer grand visions of easy money but just as often walk away leaving a business in shambles and carrying a briefcase (or two) full of cash. We also see this in situations where owners and employees are doing their best, but a mistake is made and the regulatory agency steams ahead with license revocation proceedings.
Are robots the answer? Maybe not yet, but in this tightly regulated industry where a mistake (honest or not) can result in license revocation, we should expect cannabis businesses to take advantage of any technology that promises to mitigate risk.