Marijuana Business Magazine February 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | February 2019 46 heavy water-use restrictions. BLH Aqua Technology had already successfully deployed its Aqutonix water-treatment system to agricultural customers in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia. But when the company surveyed American markets, it found that U.S. industrial farms were too big and used more water than the machines could handle. Cannabis farms, however, were just the right size. “Even the larger cannabis farms are relatively small, so it made a lot more sense,” said Robert Grey, an Aqutonix global market- ing manager. The company made its first sale to a cannabis company in 2018. One Aqutonix machine, which stands about 4 feet tall and can be easily connected to any irrigation system, can handle about 50 gallons of water per minute—sufficient to irrigate about 7 acres of cannabis. The Aqutonix uses high-voltage electricity to weaken hydrogen bonds in water so they can more easily pass through aquaporins, the sub-membrane proteins in plants responsible for water absorption, thereby increasing how efficiently a plant can absorb water. By increasing how efficiently a plant can absorb water, the Aqutonix has helped cannabis growers using its technology cut water usage by 40%, Grey said. More efficient water use also translates into more photosynthetic efficiency, which translates into greater biomass—bigger plants and, thus, bigger buds. The machines won the 2017 Slush Singapore, a prestigious international startup competition, while the Korean govern- ment has provided research grants to BLH Aqua as well as subsidies for farmers to help pay for the machines. What happens when cannabis farms get as big as other in- dustrial-sized farms? BLH already is developing machines that can handle more water, Grey said. Marketing Matchmaker COMPANY Adistry | WHERE Longmont, Colorado FOUNDED 2014 | PRODUCT Adistry is a software platform that helps connect cannabis companies seeking to buy advertising space with media outlets and other businesses willing to sell advertising space to marijuana operators. TARGET MARKET Any cannabis company or business in a highly regulated industry | PRICE $29-$399 per month, plus 1%-5% commission on transactions At an advertising agency where she previously worked, Meghan Larson noticed that cannabis businesses had trouble placing their ads. An advertising and marketing veteran with startup experience, Larson saw a business opportunity to help match marijuana businesses with media outlets willing to take their ads. She enlisted Dan Cox, a longtime friend and tech- nology-savvy engineer, to handle the tech work. Together, the pair founded Adistry, whose software went on- line in late 2017. Today, the software platform offers about 90 media channels and other ad outlets that take cannabis-related advertising, Larson said. And the number is growing. “We’re trying to ensure that there’s a place where cannabis companies and regulated businesses and brands can find effec- tive advertising,” Larson said. Adistry, which also serves other regulated industries such as alcohol and gambling, isn’t just about introductions. The soft- ware automates much of the ad-buying and -selling processes for clients, which is particularly useful for small businesses that may not have the time or expertise to manage ad buys. For example, Adistry offers a lower cost “self-service” option for as little as $29 per month, where businesses can scan media The Aqutonix splits water molecules so plants can absorb them more efficiently. Courtesy Photo Adistry aims to make it easier for cannabis companies to advertise. Courtesy Photo