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LegitScript Kicks Off CBD e-Commerce Certification Program

Daniel King

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CBD Ecommerce Cert

LegitScript recently announced the launching of its new certification program for CBD products and websites that comply with regulators.

The leading issuer of merchant and product certification in the e-commerce and payment sectors opens application for certifying cannabidiol products and websites that comply with DEA, FDA, and USDA regulations. The certification will also cover laws within a specific state.

The program aims to bring transparency and organization to the CBD industry, LegitScript CEO John Horton said.

By getting the LegitScript seal, merchants can now show proof that they comply with applicable laws and regulations.  The seal will give internet platforms, banks, and consumers confidence that the CBD merchant they are dealing with sell only legal and safe CBD products, Horton added.

Horton also stated that while the federal government legalized some cannabidiol products, many remain illegal. Most of the products that did not pass federal regulation primarily include ingestible products and those that contain more than the standard trace amounts of THC.

Through the certification program, LegitScript will review and check the validity of marketing claims for consumer protection, apart from ensuring compliance with the guidance of regulators.

As a leading third-party certification expert, particularly in complex and high-risk sectors, LegitScript’s services are acknowledged and used by government agencies, search engines, credit card companies, and e-commerce platforms all over the world.

At present, policies of most internet platforms and payment providers prohibit sales of all CBD products, Horton said. Through the certification, LegitScript is working with some internet and payment partners to use its certification program as a way to reduce their regulatory risk. Through the program, the company can also help in promoting greater acceptance of safe and legally compliant CBD products.

Opens Opportunities for Some Industries

Despite facing scrutiny from regulators and politicians, the CBD industry remains thriving. For some digital payment and e-commerce companies, the industry is a great opportunity that awaits tapping.  One of the companies that expressed its desire to get involved in the CDB industry is Square. The digital payments company has recently announced its plan to launch a payment processing service for the market.

According to some reports, giant retailers Target and Walmart have been meeting with manufacturers of cannabidiol-infused products. Retailers are also reportedly requesting for samples of CBD items apart from pricing data and lab results.

Some larger chains have begun to offer CBD topical creams to help provide relief to pain and wrinkles in states where they are legal.

With the LegitScript certification program, digital payment providers, retailers, and other companies can have a better assurance of the safety and legality of CBD products sold in the market.

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Cannabis & Technology

Flowhub Raises $23 Million in Series A Funding

Jordan Webber

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Flowhub Raises $23m in Series A Funding

Cannabis retail management software vendor Flowhub successfully raised $23 million in the Series A funding round. Flowhub is a retail management platform for marijuana dispensaries.

The Series A funding round was led by e.ventures, Evolve Ventures, who is supported by Kraft Heinz, and Poseidon. Other notable investors in the company include 9Yards Capital, former NBA commissioner David Stern, and co-founder and former chief executive officer of Venmo Iqram Magdon-Ismail.

In a press release by Flowhub, founder and chief executive officer Kyle Sherman said “what we are experiencing right now is an end to cannabis prohibition and Flowhub is one of the front lines of this movement. Every legal transaction completed with the Flowhub retail platform is a positive step forward, and we are committed to helping our customers build thriving cannabis businesses. With this investment, we will continue to automate the cannabis supply chain, retail and reporting processes and bring to market technology solutions that are not only shaping the cannabis retail business, but also driving forward the future of legalization and de-stigmatization.”

Flowhub’s Innovative Products

The company’s wide range of offerings currently includes online-ordering features, in-store purchases, integrated features in partnership with LeafBuyer and Leafly, and an updated software which highlights its mobile inventory system. The Cashier App has also been enhanced to work with other devices such as an iPad and other similar tablets and gadgets.

Dispensaries will also reportedly gain access to easier and more hassle-free customer identification methods by using handheld devices programmed with Flowhub software.

Its integration with LeafBuyer, Leafly, as well as Dutchie, “allows cannabis businesses to stay on top of crushing compliance mandates and to create the ideal cannabis tool stack that best serves their business needs.”

In an exclusive interview with Crunchbase News, Sherman revealed that their location in Denver, Colorado is key for achieving success in the field, saying “Colorado is ground zero for regulated cannabis – both medically and legally.” Sherman states that innovations from Colorado help pave way for legalizations within other states to push through.

In total, the amount raised by the company comes to $27 million. Based on its press release, the company intends to use its funding towards product innovation, adding more members to their team, and expanding its network of clients.

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Cannabis & Technology

Square Gives Payment Solutions to Cannabis Companies

Daniel King

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Square Digital Payment Solutions for Cannabis Companies

Last Thursday, October 3, 2019, Square Inc. announced its plans to provide payment processing services to cannabis retail companies. Square Inc. initially opened its digital payment solutions to CBD businesses as part of its beta program.

The payments processor company opened its services to a number of CBD businesses last May 2019. The warm reception urged the company to roll out its program to more businesses in the field. The initial roll-out allowed approximately 1,000 partners to use Square’s services on an invite-only basis.

Square’s partnership with businesses that sell CBD products aims to provide more accessible financial services to those in the industry. Under their programs, a variety of cannabis-based firms can bill their customers using different credit card companies. The list of services also includes hardware, inventory management, and payroll assistance.

Sivan Whitely, general counsel at the company, says the “purpose is economic empowerment, and we’re always looking for ways for people to thrive and participate in the economy. This is an industry that’s been underserved,” she added.

In one of their press statements released, Square sad “we believe everyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy. Today, we’re thrilled to launch our CBD early-access program, which allows businesses in the U.S. to sell CBD products on Square quickly, easily, and securely.”

For products to qualify for selling from the Square platform, goods must contain less than 0.3% THC in compliance with the Farm Bill’s conditions.

The company’s decision to open its doors to the cannabis market stems from the continuous demand for marijuana products in the market. Based on the article released by Bloomberg, the legal marijuana industry is slated to make a whopping $13.8 billion next year. Come 2025, the market is expected to grow by a massive 24%.

Cannabis businesses who wish to take part in Square’s services will be charged 3.9% and 10 cents fee per transaction using a physical tap or swipe of a credit card. Meanwhile, online purchases will charge merchants with a 4.2% and 30 cents fee.

While the cost of placing products on the platform come with higher fees, these reportedly allow CBD brands to showcase their offerings on a much larger scale. In addition, Hudson Gaines-Ross of Plant People, a CBD brand, believes the fees allow companies to invest in different sectors necessary for success in the business, including digital strategies, hiring, and marketing ploys.

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Cannabis & Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Cannabis Industry

Jordan Webber

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Cannabis Industry

The AI (Artificial Intelligence) industry is expected to make significant contributions to the cannabis sector. The rise in the number of investors and the amount of funds can potentially aid marijuana-related organizations in adopting innovative tech, including AI.

CROP Corp. CEO and Director Michael Yorke remarked that AI can aid in the cultivation and monitoring processes of cannabis growing companies. Artificially intelligent sensors combined with high-definition cameras have the potential for keeping track of inputs in the cultivation site. This includes monitoring various growing aspects including water, pH level, and CO2 levels, as well as temperature, humidity, feeds and light.

With an AI keeping an eye on these factors, cultivators can cut down the time spent monitoring their crops, while still ensuring the quality and quantity of yields. Moreover, trimming and de-leafing is also seen as a viable area in which AI can be applied.

Other parts of the cultivation process that can be automated by machines and codes include planting, detection of diseased plants, healing, and removal of sick crops and prediction. AIs can also be taught to identify the sex of crops for propagation. This technology can also enable the creation of new strains and strain customization to achieve desired effects.

Technology can also help in the aspect of sales and marketing of Cannabis products. Apps, websites,  and social media platforms are just some of the avenue where technology can be used in the cannabis industry

All these predictions about the use of artificial intelligence in the cannabis world are likely to lead to the more immense growth of the sector.

Cannabis Legalization and Artificial Intelligence

However, experts note that the lack of federal legalization can stand in the way of these developments. With the current state of marijuana legalization in the United States, cultivators are in need of advanced tracking mechanisms in order to comply with the complex regulations currently in place.

Nabis Holding president Mark Krytiuk said that the current regulations “[require] businesses to follow detailed rules that govern every area of the industry.” He also emphasized that “even the smallest error can cost a cannabis business thousands and incur harsh punishments such as losing their cannabis license.”

Because of this, automation technology cannot be implemented without ensuring that every regulatory law will be considered. It is important to note that compliance is one of the biggest reasons that many marijuana businesses fail.

Meanwhile, Krytiuk said that AI can aid in tracking state-by-state regulations, allowing retailers to keep an eye on any development with regards to marijuana laws in their respective states. This will enable them to grow, package, distribute and sell their products knowing that they are following updated regulations.

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