Cannabis or hemp is currently one of the most debated and an equally sought-after commodity around the globe. Known by a thousand different names including marijuana in different parts of the world, the legality of this plant has been contended in various countries since early 19th century. Presently, cannabis is fully legalised in Uruguay and Canada (since 2013 and 2018 respectively), while many other countries have followed their footsteps and brought about selective regulations for the various uses of cannabis, viz industrial, medicinal and recreational.
In a few countries such as the United States and India, the use of cannabis for specific purposes has been made legal in only some regions. Although the US federal law declares cannabis as illegal for any purpose except research programs approved by the FDA, medical cannabis is permitted in 33 US states, the District of Columbia (D.C.) and 4 U.S. territories with doctor’s recommendation, whereas eleven states, the D.C. and 2 US territories consider the recreational use of cannabis legal. In India, the state of Uttarakhand is the first in the country to legalise the commercial cultivation of non-narcotic hemp crop for industrial purposes.
Industrial hemp, or simply hemp, is a variety of cannabis known for high fiber and low active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, and is distinct from the more popular variety marijuana that has higher proportions of the psychoactive ingredient THC. Hemp is said to have been used as far back as 10,000 years ago to produce usable fibre and is legally permitted in many countries for the production of diverse commercial items such as textiles and clothing, paper, building materials, biofuel, bioplastics, animal feed, and much more.
Medical cannabis is being rigorously examined by researchers globally for its properties to treat a range of diseases and alleviate some of their side effects. Cannabidiol or CBD is an extract from the hemp plant that is highly preferred for medical use as it has almost no psychoactive or sedating properties. CBD is said to relieve insomnia, anxiety and spasticity, and could also treat potentially life-threatening ailments such as epilepsy. Medical cannabis is also used to relieve pain caused due to aging or multiple sclerosis, and as a muscle relaxant with the consent of a physician. A few countries have so far permitted the medical use of cannabis, while some others restrictive regulations in place that permit only specific cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs.
For recreational purposes, the use of cannabis for its psychoactive properties dates back to at least 2,500 years ago, and is widely consumed in the form of marijuana in different forms. However, owing to the various effects it has on a person’s mind and body, cannabis was criminalised in numerous countries since mid-19th century. Its cultivation, sale and consumption for recreational purposes continues to be prohibited and penalised by most countries. Even so, cannabis remains the world’s most extensively cultivated, trafficked, and consumed cash crop.
Legal status of recreational cannabis across the world.
On the grounds that the cultivation, sale, and consumption of cannabis is legal for specific uses in only some parts of the world, keeping a sharp eye on each of these processes becomes highly critical, right from farming all the way till it reaches the consumer. Such meticulous levels of close observation and supply-chain monitoring are now made feasible and highly productive with the application of modern technology.
CropIn Technology, a global leader in providing innovative AgTech solutions to digitise the entire production and supply chain for increased efficiency and transparency from farm to shelf.
CropIn’s innovative use of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote sensing and big data analytics has revolutionised agriculture in more ways than what was earlier considered possible. Today, CropIn’s engine powers agribusinesses, government entities and other not-for-profit organisations to achieve significant optimisation of farm and business operations.
CropIn’s SmartFarm is an end-to-end farm management solution that facilitates field staff to schedule, implement and monitor farm practices for over 380 crops and 3660+ crop varieties. The highly configurable application enables users to key in specific package of practices (PoP) for each crop variety as recommended by agronomists, and audit farm activities as and when completed. This feature is an additional bonus for organic hemp cultivators, to make sure that farm practices are in agreement with the regulations. Being a multi-stakeholder cloud platform, CropIn allows key players in the management hierarchy to remotely monitor these farm activities and derive actionable insights at real-time.
In addition, CropIn leverages weather and satellite-imagery-based data to provide accurate forecasts that aid in sustainable, climate-smart farming and risk mitigation. Furthermore, CropIn’s AI driven platform SmartRisk, provides crop health analysis and yield forecast that enables the management team to arrive at intelligent business decisions.
CropIn serves as the foremost technology-backed extension tool for farmer education. CropIn’s user-oriented and user-friendly features allow businesses to standardise operations and transfer them to growers precisely as required with the help of field staff. Configuring these practices in the digital platform makes certain that the management team and the farmers are on the same page, and that farmers are aware of the best practices for cultivation of cannabis as per regulations. In addition, CropIn’s two-way farmer-engagement app, AcreSquare provides a direct communication channel between businesses and cultivators, to enrich and empower farmers with knowledge that supports enhanced agricultural productivity.
The legality of cannabis and the stringent regulations imposed on its import and export calls for transparency in its supply chain. This is necessary not only to validate the origin of the produce, but also to ensure it meets quality standards, particularly in the case of medical marijuana. Countries like the US require a phytosanitary certification to importing hemp seeds, to confirm the absence of plant pests although Federal law still prohibits the importation of products containing THC including marijuana.
By providing a digital footprint of cannabis as a result of the data collected right from sowing, CropIn allows traders to ascertain the origin and authenticity of the procured cannabis, exactly to the farmland where it was cultivated. It also provides a concise report of its production, including the seed variety, details of crop protect activities, application of fertilisers and other agro-chemicals, lab reports, and alerts raised and resolved if any during its crop cycle. Traceability of the produce is particularly beneficial to produce designated for medical purposes as it establishes the quality of the cannabis, and aids in data-backed certification.