A Robot That Takes Over Pre-Roll Packaging to Boost Productivity and Increase the Profitability of Struggling Cannabis Businesses
A 2021 survey by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and consulting firm Whitney Economics revealed that about 37% of cannabis businesses are operating without a profit. The survey also showed that only 42% of cannabis businesses are turning in a profit, with women and minorities having the poorest performance.
The legal cannabis industry is encumbered in a myriad of challenges. From hefty licensing and real estate fees to high tax rates and stringent regulations, it is difficult for businesses to meet their costs, let alone turn in a profit. At the same time the industry faces unfair competition from the illicit market which has little to no barriers to contend against.
Beau Whitney, the Chief Economist at Whitney Economics, concluded that the only solution for ensuring that cannabis businesses are poised for profitability is to create a level playing field that allows the legal industry to compete fairly with the illicit market. One way to achieve this is by lowering the cost of producing legal marijuana products.
Can robots save the day?
Sorting Robotics, a LA based cannabis-focused AI company has just launched the industry's first robot that packs cannabis into pre-rolls; Jiko is the name of the robot. According to the company, JIKO can scale the production of pre rolls 40 times over and result in labor and spillage savings of over $20,000 within the first month of use.
Jiko is a free-standing robot that can infused pre-rolls and blunts with concentrates such as rosin, badder, distillate, sauce, CBD, delta-8 and more. It can infuse 800 pre-rolls each hour while at the same time reduce waste and spillage by about 20%-30%. It is intended to be operated by one person but can match the productivity of 40 people.
Nohtal Partansky, CEO of Sorting Robotics, emphasized the value addition that JIKO offers the industry. “Most people think robots are a bad thing. I see it completely differently. In the cannabis value chain, effectively automating repetitive manual tasks improves margins and allows operators to reinvest more into innovation and creative problem solving “he said.
Some of the past issues that have derailed the uptake of robots across different industries include high acquisition and maintenance costs as well as lack of expertise to operate the robots. If JIKO adequately addressed these challenges then it might be able to tackle the most significant bottlenecks that are hindering profitability in the cannabis industry. In that case, Jiko will boost productivity and increase the bottom-line of struggling canna-businesses. The green-rush will finally be able to see light of day.