I recently attended the Emerald Cup, a large two-day gathering of the California cannabis industry, which was first posted on sUASnews.com. Tens of thousands of participants, growers, associations, and grow-related businesses descended on the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa to celebrate the 2017 fall harvest.
Let me preface that my weed-smoking days are long behind me. I went to the Emerald Cup to better understand the role of drones in cannabis production. My company, Drone Scholars, specializes on drone data for vegetation mapping. Drones are powerful tools for precision agriculture and are increasingly being used in agri-business. Drone data are particularly relevant for high-value crops grown at smaller spatial scales, such as vineyards, berries, and possibly cannabis.
With lightening regulations, the commercial drone industry is starting to take off and so is legal cannabis. (Insert joke here about both getting you high). In a matter of days, recreational pot use will be allowed in the state of California, one of the largest economies in the world. What were small guerilla-gardens in the remote corners of Humboldt or Mendocino counties will shift to the landscape of the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. The economic implications of this are considerable.