As of 2017, there are 28 total states that have voted to legalize marijuana in some form for medical purposes. Further, eight states and the District of Columbia have voted for full medical and recreational legalization.
Naturally, investors are taking notice — though marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic by federal guidelines, and regulations in states where cannabis is legal can get complicated.
On the latter point, customer loyalty software startup Baker Technologies looks to enable the growing legal cannabis industry in the U.S. and Canada. The company, which reportedly aims to become a “salesforce for pot,” recently raised $3.5 million in a venture funding round, with participation from Michael Lazerow, Base Ventures, XG Ventures, Poseidon Asset Management and Phyto Partners, among others.
To date, Baker has raised $5.1 million in two rounds of funding and currently serves dispensaries in 10 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.
Baker Technologies’ software enables marijuana dispensaries to draw in new customers with check-in and loyalty capabilities that the company claims can double consumer retention rates. Baker also reports that its capabilities can increase average order size for dispensaries by 40 percent via enabling online ordering.
Additionally, Baker provides dispensaries with real-time analytics capabilities for dispensaries’ POS systems, enabling cannabis merchants to access information like their popular products and customer shopping cycles.
New Frontier Data forecasts that legal sales of cannabis in those states with full legalization could generate some $2.3 billion in state tax revenue from retail sales by 2020. A mature legal cannabis market is projected to create a new $50 billion industry, with penetration comparable to that of beer and wine.
Recent research conducted by Cannabiz Consumer Group indicates that, in legal markets, recreational marijuana has led to a 7.1 percent loss in revenues in the retail beer space.