Transparency is a prominent force in today’s food industry. While farmers markets are hardly new, the attachment to organic, locally grown products have surfaced in other industries throughout San Francisco and Oakland–namely marijuana. These pot-friendly cities have seen a rise in cannabis delivery systems and sampling parties. In late February Flow Kana, “the world’s first farm-to-table cannabis delivery platform,” launched in San Francisco, foreshadowing the next generation of a once taboo trade. By the end of June the company will also serve Oakland and Berkeley.
Drawing inspiration from the farmer’s market model, Flow Kana partners with organic, sun-grown cannabis growers. Their platform enables users with medical marijuana cards to select desired strains and have 1/8 oz. of “connoisseur grade” marijuana delivered within thirty minutes for approximately $50. This model not only eliminates middlemen dispensaries, but also flips the economics of the industry. Farmers that were once at the mercy of dispensary rates can engage in a direct-trade business model similar to that of the direct-trade coffee movement.
Michael Steinmetz and Nick Smilgys, founders of Flow Kana, have received $500,000 in seed funding for the company. The two aim to change the cannabis industry by increasing the connection and transparency between farmers and consumers. Much of this revolves around what Steinmetz and Smilgys deem the “clean cannabis movement.”
“The biggest problem besides the environmental factors [of indoor cultivation] is we have no idea what’s going into the cannabis–what types of products, chemicals, pesticides they’re putting into the plant,” says Steinmetz.
Unbeknownst to most, indoor cannabis production uses more than $6 billion in electricity annually. The industry as a whole is responsible for as much greenhouse gas emissions as 3 million cars, according to an independent study by Evan Mills, PhD of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More specifically, 1lb. of indoor marijuana releases 4,600 lbs. of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“I think from a consumers perspective finding out who grew your cannabis, where they grew it, and how they grew it are essential first steps for creating a legal, transparent, legitimate model,” says Steinmetz.
This story originally appeared on Forbes. View the original article here.