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China’s internet does not contain many popular sites found in the rest of the world. For years, strong censorship provisions and interception protocols allowed massive firewalls to block most Western websites and applications. Thus, China does not have the same popular apps we use so often in the U.S. In the absence of established apps, a super app was created in China — WeChat — one of the world’s most prominent data collectors that software companies worldwide are watching.
WeChat combines almost every single app in one. Instead of having various applications for specific uses (i.e., Facebook, WhatsApp, iMessage, Tinder, Venmo, Instacart, ZocDoc, DoorDash), Chinese citizens access all those services through WeChat, without ever leaving the app.
In a video segment, the New York Times once referred to WeChat as a distinctive creature in its own unique lagoon (China’s internet), waiting to be released into the ocean (the rest of the worldwide internet). If WeChat is released globally, it could potentially threaten the aforementioned single-solution apps with its advanced technology and strong and large user base.
The concept of WeChat is not so different from what’s happening in the cannabis technology lagoon created by the ongoing U.S. federal versus state cannabis legalization conflict. Because the federal government has not yet legalized cannabis, most traditional technology companies have been averse to serving cannabis clients and creating cannabis technology solutions within their established frameworks. This void of traditional offerings has led to the rise of many cannabis technology solutions, some of which, like WeChat, bring unique technology and an established client base as they wait to be released into the ocean of traditional tech competition after potential U.S. federal legalization.
Since states legalized first, the federal government would likely need to play catch-up if decriminalized at the federal level, which is part of the goal of the recently introduced Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAO). This bill, penned by Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, in addition to seeking federal legalization in the U.S., aims to address other industry-critical issues, including decriminalization, social equity, taxation, regulation, consumer safety, reform of banking laws, investment in research, authorized medical use access to veterans and interstate commerce.
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While many cannabis technology and ancillary solutions …….