What Are The Challenges To Blockchain Adoption In The Cannabis Industry? 6 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 4 May 2019
  • Sam Mire

Dispensary owners can barely find banks to take their cash, and you’d ask them to tackle the regulatory gray area of cryptocurrencies?

This is how many in the cannabis industry respond to blockchain proposals. It’s a mix of misunderstanding (blockchain doesn’t equal crypto) and justified apprehension. Changing this perception may be the greatest hurdle to blockchain adoption among cannabis entrepreneurs.

The changing legality of marijuana leaves cannabis businesses in limbo. The blockchain can’t grease Washington’s wheels, but it could provide real solutions for the cannabis industry. If only blockchain supporters could get cannabis entrepreneurs to listen…

To be fair, it will take a breakthrough — a viable banking app or compliance platform — for blockchain to prove its worth in this space. Cannabis entrepreneurs shouldn’t invest without proof of concept. But somebody with knowledge of marijuana, blockchain expertise, and some deep pockets will take a leap of faith eventually.

Once they do, the dam may be open to the many applications that lie in wait for blockchain in the cannabis industry.

1. Barinder Rasode, CEO of Grow Tech Labs

Barinder Rasode“Enterprise technologies and Software as a Service (SaaS) implementations almost always involve budgeting exercises.  Enterprise sales and procurement cycles can average 9 months in total.  To that end, new technologies powered by blockchain require enough marquis customers using the technology regularly to reach a tipping point where more prospective customers are likely to go ahead purchase such transformative new products and services.”

2. Isaac Dietrich, Chairman and CEO of MassRoots, Inc.

Isaac Dietrich“As with most industries, there’s a certain amount of hesitance to adopt new technologies and methods. There’s also not well-known and established products built on blockchain, which are a prerequisite to adoption.”


3. Brandon Van Asten, Manager, CPA with Bridge West, LLC

Brandon Van Asten“The cannabis industry is already pushing the line of legality and compliance. To add a confusing (to most) payment method is viewed as unnecessary complication, especially for those already with banking.”


4. Braden Perry, Partner at Kennyhertz Perry LLC

Braden Perry“The biggest challenge to blockchain adoption is that the regulatory treatment is unclear. It seems as if every federal regulatory agency has chimed in on blockchain issues, but none have taken the lead. For example, The IRS has classified virtual currency as property, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has said they are commodities. The SEC has implemented a securities structure surrounding ICOs, and no agency has labeled virtual currency as an actual currency.

Until the regulatory structure is clear, many companies will be hesitant to use the technology to innovate their business processes.”

5. Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of SIVA Enterprises

Avis Bulbulyan“Education.  In an industry full of legacy operators that have been doing things a certain way for so long, adopting new technology, especially tech that’s not fully understood by most, becomes challenging.”


6. Joel Semczyszyn, CEO of Rubikon Blockchain Corp

Joel Semczyszyn“A tie for first place: perception and comprehension.

Perception is a tough battle in the short term as many blockchain investments experienced heavy losses last year. Market trends ebb and flow and, with the return of a bull market, I believe the public will be warm to blockchain projects in the not so distant future.

When it comes to comprehension, it’s not common for people within the cannabis industry to come from a digital infrastructure background, so it’s a bit of an uphill battle. It takes patience and a clearly communicated use case to win over the cannabis market.”


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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.