This tech start-up wants to do for legal marijuana what Keurig did for coffee.
Massachusetts-based CannaKorp has developed what it claims to be the world's first single-use pod-based cannabis vaporizer system — the CannaCloud — which some users have dubbed "the Keurig of marijuana."
"Our company's goal is to simplify and improve the cannabis consumer experience," co-founder and CEO James Winokur told CNBC.
To work the device, a user first inserts a CannaCloud Pod (similar to a K-Cup, but filled with marijuana) into the bottom of a hollow canister. Next, the canister is placed into the CannaCloud device to start the vaporization. (The canister fills with vapor in about a minute.) The user then removes the canister, and inhales the vapor through the mouthpiece. As soon as the user stops inhaling, the one-way mouthpiece closes off the remaining vapor.
The firm's patent-pending CannaCloud device is expected to retail for $150, while the CannaCloud Pods (or cPods for short) will be priced by retailers. "It's fair to say we expect them to be $6 to $7 [per pod]," Winokur said.
According to the company's website, customers can choose from various types of marijuana — including sativa, indica, hybrid and CBD-only strains. "The pods are pre-ground cannabis flower that are sealed to lock in flavor, aroma, and freshness."
Market research firm Arcview reports legal cannabis sales are expected to grow to $6.7 billion in 2016, up from $5.4 billion in 2014. The firm also predicts the legal cannabis market will see $21.8 billion in total annual sales by 2020.
Recreational pot is currently in four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — and D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 20 other states. Recreational pot measures are on the November ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, while voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana.
"We really think of it as wellness," Winokur said. "People are using cannabis in a range of areas to make themselves feel better. Doctors can recommend cannabis now in certain states, and certainly that's a direct avenue for us. But other states allow for people to kind of self-medicate, and get to know how this makes them feel. We really want that controlled experience."
Headquartered in Stoneham, Massachusetts, the company has three former Keurig executives on its staff. To date, it has raised $1.6 million and is ready to start manufacturing.