Cannabis and technology are converging in Los Angeles
Cannabis and technology are two of the fastest growing sectors in the world. As they continue to independently innovate, they are also slowly merging into one industry and nowhere is this more evident than in Los Angeles. The continued advances are expected to not just have an impact on the Southern California marijuana industry, but that of the entire world.
A recent study conducted by the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE, took a look at the workforce in LA, as well as in 50 other cities. LA was found to be right in the middle, but it was also shown to be home to the most amount of growth. In 2017, the city saw the largest increase in tech jobs in the entire country and the second-largest increase in North America, slightly behind Ottawa, Canada. Given the fact that LA is in seventh place for the most expensive markets for tech companies of 500 or more employees, the growth is made even more impressive.
According to Josh Drayton, communications and outreach director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), this is just the beginning. He explains, “My feeling on Los Angeles is that it really could be a hub for innovation.” Drayton adds that the prevalence of medical innovation in the city is also a catalyst for further tech growth in the area.
Drayton further asserts, “I think being a tech company is very challenging both inside and outside the cannabis industry. Tech platforms have become a part of our everyday life, for good and for bad. I think across the board we’re trying to figure out what role they could play, should play, and what responsibilities they have.”
One issue that is preventing rapid growth is licensing. However, Drayton believes that the city is handling the situation appropriately. He says, “I know they’re taking it slow. But I do think there is a desire for L.A. to do this right. They have a great leader in Cat Packer [executive director of L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation], who is very thoughtful in going through all the nuances. So I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of cannabis in Los Angeles.”