Cannabis Tech Accelerator Opens In San Diego

By Jennifer Van Grove
The San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Canopy San Diego” is accepting applications for its pot-themed technology accelerator. The program is designed to help entrepreneurs with great business ideas, turn those ideas into structured and polished business models for investors.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

While Californians consider legalizing recreational pot use, a few San Diego entrepreneurs are already casting their vote in favor of the state’s cannabis industry.

The group, called Canopy San Diego, is accepting applications for its pot-themed technology accelerator, a first for Southern California. The concept is to find and fund early-stage companies with ideas that can assist the state’s dispensaries and growers. That could range from water conservation tools to more optimal packaging; payroll software to analytics.

Canopy San Diego said it is launching now because it believes the state’s legal marijuana market is already sufficiently large enough to support new businesses. With sales projected to reach $2.7 billion this year, California is the largest medical marijuana market in the nation. And, if residents vote in favor of recreational use in November, the state’s cannabis industry is expected to swell exponentially.

“California is about the size of the rest of the legal markets combined,” said John Kagia, executive vice president of data analytics at New Frontier, which researches the industry. The next largest legal markets are Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Arizona, which generated between $215 million and $1 billion in sales last year.

“The opportunity presented by legalization in California cannot be overstated. … (As technologists) transition to the cannabis industry, that represents a significant opportunity to dramatically advance the technological sophistication of an industry that, because of illegality, has not been able to capitalize on the same type of innovation that has advanced most other sectors.”

There is one important caveat to the accelerator. Canopy San Diego is bypassing the risks associated with funding anyone dealing directly with plants, which means it won’t accept startups that actually cultivate or sell weed. That means consumer-centric, on-demand pot apps need not apply.

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