Marijuana Business Magazine September 2018

ANCILLARY BUS¬NESS STRATEG¬ES B loom Automation, a Massachu- setts robotics startup, is bring- ing decades of experience in military and agricultural robotics and autonomous navigation to cannabis cultivators and processors. Through research on cannabis oper- ations, Bloom Automation’s founder and CEO, John Gowa, discovered that cultivators largely trim cannabis manually or semi-manually, with some trimmers using motorized handheld devices or machines. In those cases, the tools used were no more sophisti- cated than scissors, Gowa said. He also discovered an “unbelievable amount of turnover” in processing facilities, and Gowa said that trimming cannabis manually can be stressful on workers’ joints. That – in addition to rising labor costs and falling prices for wholesale cannabis – contributes to the demand for automated trimming solutions, The Robots are Coming Hurdles in funding and technology haven’t stopped a Massachusetts robotics company from testing an automated cannabis trimming solution By Joey Peña Bloom Automation improved its trimming robot’s accuracy by introducing a mathematical model that takes an input – in this case, images of cannabis – and uses learned clues to identify parts of the plant. Photo courtesy of Bloom Automation he said. There’s a need for a machine that doesn’t use brute force or mangle the product it’s trimming, he added. Enter Bloom Automation’s robot “At the core, we believe … robots can help bring a higher quality of cannabis to patients and consum- ers,” Gowa said, “And that robots and automation will allow cultivators to produce this consistently and with greater availability.” 88 • Marijuana Business Magazine • September 2018