Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Printed Marijuana Garden Grow?

3Dponics has launched a new entrant to the rapidly growing array of 3D printed devices used by marijuana consumers. It is a customizable, modular hydroponic growing system targeted toward indoor growers and “city dwellers” according to the company’s press release and promotional blog.

The company claims that its system is designed to make growing a snap. Once assembled, human interaction with the growing process is limited to refilling the system’s removable, printed, cross-hatched reservoirs with water and plant food. The system is also designed to allow home-growers the ability to create as big or as small a garden as they have room for.

3Dponics is not the only 3D printed grower coming to the market. Root, a company with a similar concept, is raising money to ship its model this summer. 3D printing is also starting to show up in other products used widely by medical marijuana consumers in particular, although by this point it is a cross-over product. Israeli-based Syqe Medical introduced a novel inhaler late last year that the company claims is endorsed by doctors because it allows easier dose control.

3D printed hemp is also beginning to make its mark on the fashion world although this is a trend many years in the making. As a result, there are many creative entrants this year. Lotus Boards is one of them. The startup is trying to produce the world’s first “hemp plastic skateboard” as well as apparel, and it is kicking off its crowdfunding campaign this summer. As early as the “good old days” of 2013, Liz Ciokajilo started to offer 3D printed hemp shoes.

Meanwhile, hydro growing is hardly a new idea for marijuana enthusiasts. As marijuana has legitimized across the country, ganjapreneurs with tech smarts are offering more efficient, usually web-interfaced options. Leaf, for example, is one of the newer “plug and plant” systems now available to consumers. The company claims that growers can harvest up to 4 ounces of dry, cured marijuana every three months with 20 minutes of work per week. Leaf’s operations are also light and temperature controlled with mobile phone controls, with the company claiming the device pays for itself after a single grow.

In fact, it is hydro growing, along with presumably much more cheaply 3D printed material and smartphone controlled cycle management, that is very likely to benefit from the coalescing new trends in manufacturing. Drought and high energy costs throughout the United States in particular, are also likely to continue to create innovation in the industry—and at both the retail and wholesale level, particularly as medical states continue to require indoor grows as part of the compliance structure.  As a result, innovators are setting up in state after state.

The increased availability of 3D printing, in fact, may also continue to create the space for smaller operators and collectives to afford to remain in business. As marijuana has legalized, the costs of operating traditional caregiving businesses in many states has gotten too expensive even as it is being legislated out of existence. 3D printed hydro growing that keeps such opportunities affordable may well be a deciding factor in the continued legitimacy and operations of caregiving mom-and-pop collectives in every state where at least medical marijuana is now and soon likely to be legal.

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