With sweeping legalization, approval of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp at the federal level, and a greater cultural acceptance of cannabis use, the industry has taken off over the last decade. Everyone from beauty brands and 420-friendly Airbnb hosts to beverage producers and medical professionals are closely watching the cannabis craze unfold and everyone wants to get a piece of the pie. Each year there are dozens of cannabis startups launching new products and services to make the lives of modern ganja lovers easier and better than ever. Grab a blunt wrap, roll up a fat one, and get comfortable. These are the top cannabis startups you need to keep an eye on this year.
Cannabis startups to watch in 2022
Based out of Los Angeles, California, Puffco will soon surpass the startup stage and join the big boy club. Founded by CEO Roger Volodarsky in 2013, this cannabis startup focuses on innovation with its luxury vaporizers. The private company has been mentioned in numerous media outlets and won several awards such as first place at the High Times Cannabis Cup for Best Vaporizer and the SoCal Medical Marijuana Cup’s Best Vaporizer. While on the pricier side, smokers love the user-friendly design and the elegant, minimalistic look of Puffco vaporizers.
Some people took up surfing or baking during the pandemic, many 420 enthusiasts started their own home grow and never looked back. GrowBuddy was established in 2009 by Daniel Starbuck and Tim Delight, two cannabis cultivators who wanted an easier way to track their crop and collect data for future grows. The GrowBuddy software and cannabis app was designed to be a grow journal that assists growers in monitoring plants, maximizing yields, and also serving as a place for cannabis growers to connect and share tips and tricks of the trade. The app is continuously being updated with new features and has since expanded to include a marketplace for selling second hand grow equipment and a Q&A forum. As recreational cannabis continues to be legalized in more U.S. states, the number of people home growing will only increase.
Founded by Ankur Rungta, Joel Ruggiero, Vishal Rungta in 2018, C3 Industries has grown exponentially in these four short years thanks to backing by high-net-worth individuals and venture capital. It is a vertically integrated cannabis startup, which owns everything from the cannabis farm and processing facility to online and physical retail locations, even a wholesale operation, allowing the brand to fine-tune the quality of its offerings. With operations in Oregon, Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri, this business is in a phase of development and expansion into new markets, which could pay off in revenue and push them out of the startup phase very soon.
Despite being operated legally and paying lots of taxes, cannabis dispensaries are still unable to use the normal banking system or secure certain types of financing due to their products being listed as a Schedule I substance by the DEA. This is why most legal dispensaries only accept cash, use sketchy methods to get around the cash-only aspect, and never give receipts. The Denver, Colorado based startup was established in 2016 by Lamine Zarrad, who worked at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at the time and saw the inefficiencies in the system and need firsthand. Tokken is a safe mobile banking platform for both customers and “un-bankable” businesses like those in the cannabis industry that utilizes blockchain. It has huge potential due to the high demand for its services and an increased knowledge and use of blockchain today, but has been hindered every step of the way by federal regulations and constantly changing legal terrain.
This black, woman-owned business founded by Shanel A. Lindsay is bringing cannabis to kitchens across the U.S. The cannabis startup produces home decarboxylation and infusion machines, which are used to create cannabis oils and other extracts that can be added to food or drink, smoked, or infused in body products. Marketed on the Ardent website as “the easy bake oven for adults,” these decarboxylation machines ensure that the most cannabinoids as possible are extracted from the plant material and makes dosing easy. Prior to these one-click machines, decarboxylation was a time consuming process and if done incorrectly, could lead to a loss in potency or burning and losing all the flower. The small, private cannabis startup has lots of potential to expand in both the recreational and medicinal markets.
For the latest luxury cannabis accessories and smoking products, take a look at another cannabis startup, Puff Puff Pass It.