A “budding” environment sprouts the latest crop of cannabis startups

By Peter Salib Peter Salib has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on October 1, 2019

Adding to the growing legal cannabis market, the latest state to legalize recreational cannabis is Illinois. Last year, investors poured $10 billion into cannabis throughout 2018 and it’s projected to grow to $16 billion this year. That’s a lot of green, to grow and sell some green if you know what I mean.

Pioneering a young industry, entrepreneurs are bringing science, design, and ingenuity to cannabis and hemp. Creators are coming out with all sorts of products, gadgets, consumables, software, and services for the cannabis industry. 

Here are ten cannabis startups to watch:


HiGrade provides mobile cannabis testing for consumers and patients, using patent-pending AI technology.If you’re the consumer who loves knowing the metrics behind the quality and safety of your flower, this might be something for you. Every label on a cannabis flower purchase will tell you the potency of THC. That number, unfortunately, does not accurately represent the potency of the product you actually have. 

The problem is with large batch testing and that the analysis just simply does not apply to the whole batch because cannabis is such a unique plant. Two flowers from the same plant, for example, can show twice the difference in THC potency. 

The HiGrade team leveraged strong backgrounds in science and agriculture to create a scope that attached to a smartphone to enhance its imaging capability. The real magic is in the AI technology that is able to assess the potency of cannabis flower using only three high-res images through a convenient mobile app.


Cannveya is changing the way cannabis operators deliver. 

Their technology was developed specifically for the cannabis industry and you can tell.  After just a few minutes into a demo, it’s clear they have put a lot of effort into making this powerful and flexible solution.

“We know there is a big difference between delivering cannabis and cannolis. The penalty for being out of compliance is a major fine or much worse,” explained Justin Morris, Cannveya’s CEO.

It’s not only about the tech. They also offer best-in-class customer service. Beyond being experts in delivery logistics, their team has a deep understanding of the regulatory hurdles that operators face.  

Cannveya is already making an impact in the marketplace. They service the largest dispensary in the world and have formed strategic partnerships with the industry’s leading technology providers.

With more cannabis being delivered every day, Cannveya is a driving force in the transition from in-store purchases to compliant home delivery.

Purple Rose Supply

Purple Rose Supply creates user-friendly molds to easily create a cannagar (cannabis cigar) that slow-burns.

We previously covered Purple Rose Supply and its ingenious G2 CannaMold back on 4/20 (fittingly, yes). Purple Rose helps enables consumers to easily roll their own cannagars and save hundreds of dollars on expensive pre-rolled alternatives. What was typically a messy, timely process, is turned into a crafted creation experience where the end result is shareable!

Listening to the needs of its consumers, Purple Rose Supply recently began offering a hand-rolled cannagar shell to fit snugly over the cannagar core since some consumers in different areas had difficulties sourcing propel leaves to roll with. The cannagar Shells are made out of hemp leaves that have been layered over a pulp made out of hemp. Just check out the reviews on their website to see what customers are saying.


TINC is the first cannabis manufacturer on the east coast crafting cannabis-infused beverages. 

If you don’t want to smoke, there are several alternatives like edibles or topicals. Drinking a beverage is also a great option that is now available for consumers in Massachusetts. Rooted in simple all-natural ingredients, TINC will produce great-tasting seltzer, cold-brew coffee, and tea that is cannabis-infused available in  2.5 and 5 mg 12 oz cans. 

TINC is breaking ground on a new 6,000 square foot cannabis manufacturing facility. The hybrid facility is equal parts cannabis extraction lab to beverage facility. This facility is the first of its kind on the east coast.


Safe-Reach is a programmatic or online advertising ecosystem built for the cannabis and CBD industry.

Because of regulation, you can’t deliver, sell, or market cannabis the same way you do everyday commodities. Compliance is key if you want to stay in business but so is growth. Growth usually requires advertising and marketing which, you guessed it, has certain compliance needs in the cannabis industry.

Safe-Reach aggregates publishers who are open to hosting cannabis ads and connects their adult visitors with compliant cannabis banner, video and connected television ads using data and programmatic technologies. Safe-Reach works as a publisher partner, an agency trading desk and a consumer data company.

This small, private company is seeing rapid monthly growth as the demand for advertising in this crowded and competitive field increases. Safe-Reach was born out of a passion for the plant, a desire to spread the best brands and companies in this space and a deep understanding of advertising technology. Coupling all of this with great customer service is at the core of everything we do.


BEYOND/HELLO, is a premier Pennsylvania licensed retail chain owned by Jushi, Inc., and one of the fastest-growing retailers on the East Cost in 2019.    

A leading dispensary group with a presence in Philadelphia’s Center City area, BEYOND/HELLO is taking a human approach to retail. The convenience and ease of being able to have this transaction in a store is great but some consumers believe many budtenders and owners are too focused on transaction volume and metrics than true customer experience. 

The name of this dispensary is rooted in delivering exceptional service and takes the interaction beyond hello, beyond profit, and beyond small talk. This ethos is helping establish the brand as a preference and new benchmark in retail service.  

Ziese Farms

Ziese Farms is a Washington State hemp farm offering the first-ever federally compliant hemp greens (leaf) for chefs, restaurants, grocery stores, and the home consumer.

Move aside kale, there’s a new favorite leaf for salads. Hemp greens are a new superfood that is a great source of vegan protein and loaded with nutrients. Ziese Farms hemp greens are pesticide-free, naturally field-grown, and a delicious addition to your diet. Founded by David Heldreth, Ziese Farms is the first to gain federal approval to produce hemp as a food item.

Heldreth has more than a decade in the cannabis and hemp industries and recently testified at the FDA hearing on cannabis and CBD. He regularly provides scientific, regulatory and agriculture information to lawmakers and agencies at the state and federal levels. 

Dip Devices

Dip Devices is a leader in bringing premium, innovative vaporizers and accessories to the dynamic cannabis marketplace.

The company behind the previously covered Dipper — the original, vertical “direct dab” vaping device — has released a new product. EVRI by Dip Devices is a multi-functional consumption solution featuring a battery that connects magnetically to continuously evolving attachments.

EVRI is an exciting innovation allowing customers to buy a single battery with endless function. They can consume any way they please and know it will change with their needs and with the market. The current available attachments to the battery are the Vapor Tip Attachment, which allows consumption of concentrate directly from its container, 510/Pod Attachment, which has one side that connects to 510 cartridges and one that connects to refillable e-juice pods.

This modular design will help to minimize wasted batteries and motherboards in landfills from a constantly evolving product vertical utilizing the same battery. In addition to this sustainability aspect of this design, 1% of all EVRI sales are donated to drug policy reform via MPP.org and SSDP.org.

GIANT by Dauntless

GIANT or Global Interoperable Application Network Technology is a platform that connects every cannabis business with a universal API.

Dauntless recently acquired a company called Soro to move forward on the vision “to build an entire ecosystem around what it means to be a cannabis business.” GIANT is a giant part of that vision that aims to be the technology that connects all the businesses in the cannabis industry to make transactions with compliance and transparency at the root of the system. 

GIANT is essentially the surge protector that the 87,000+ legal cannabis companies plug into for sourcing and selling of products and services to any other GIANT customers. The secure system is GDPR compliant and serving a growing number of customers across the nine cannabis business categories. 

Cloud Creamery

Cloud Creamery is a Boston-based ice-cream shop serving up cannabis-infused scoops.

Cannabis-infused ice-cream flavors like lavender-honey and black sesame with miso caramel, yum!  Cloud Creamery is a chef-driven, artisanal edible company. That makes sense considering the CEO was a chef for a Michelin star restaurant in Hong Kong. Bringing additional credibility and notoriety to the team is Ry Prichard, the co-host of the world’s first cannabis cooking show on Viceland, Bong Appetit, where he served as Cannabis Specialist. 

Cloud Creamery aims to gain the ability to distribute its frozen, infused edibles to hospitals, dispensaries, and other medical facilities. 

That’s a wrap. As more states legalize and banking restrictions lift, investment dollars from major institutions will bring forth a new generation of cannabis brands. If you know a cannabis company doing something really cool, let us know in the comments!

By Peter Salib Peter Salib has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Peter Salib is a Tech Columnist at Grit Daily. Based in New Jersey, he is an avid participant of events nationwide who's attended CES in Las Vegas consecutively since 2013. Peter is the host and producer of Show & Tell, a product showcase YouTube channel and also works at Gadget Flow, a leading product discovery platform reaching 31M consumers every month. Peter frequently works with startups on media, content writing, events, and sales. His dog, Scruffy, was a guest product model on the Today Show with Kathy Lee & Hoda in 2018 and was dubbed "Scruffy the Wonder Dog.”

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