Weed tech is finally getting some mainstream recognition. Well, sort of.
CES, the world's largest consumer electronics convention held in Las Vegas, announced KEEP Labs as a 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Home Appliance Category on Thursday. It's the first time the conference has awarded a cannabis tech company. KEEP designed a smart stash box that connects to an app via WiFi and Bluetooth to allow cannabis users to responsibly contain access to their weed. The box can be unlocked via biometric touch or using the app, which can send notifications to the synced device if anyone attempts to move or access the box when it's locked. The sleek, minimalist box is not only temperature controlled, but can be customized with organizational sections to separate products. "At KEEP, we believe that cannabis shouldn't be kept in places like pencil cases, sock drawers, or the back of the closet, but it should be kept responsibly," KEEP spokesperson Eden Wilkins said in an email to Mashable. "KEEP allows consumers to store their cannabis in a smart, discreet, and secure manner. Consumers will have confidence knowing their cannabis use and products can be kept to themselves without having to sacrifice safety or convenience." Image: KEEP labsAt a glance, it looks like a minimalist digital alarm clock, which means most people would have no idea what's stored inside. Sure it's cool, but why is it monumental
Weed tech has been historically banned from CES; during the conference earlier this year, cannabis companies complained that they weren't even allowed to display their products on the showroom floor."Having a cannabis product recognized for the first time at one of the most influential and mainstream tech events in the world demonstrates the shift that is happening around the perception of cannabis," Wilkins continued. She noted that marijuana is legal in many U.S. states and in the entirety of Canada, where the company is based. It's worth noting that although KEEP is cannabis-adjacent, it doesn't involve actual cannabis. Companies like PAX and PuffCo, which both make vapes, were told they couldn't display their products because the organizers hadn't created a category for cannabis vaporizers yet. During CES 2018, PuffCo's CEO Roger Volodarsky used an offsite hotel suite as a showroom. Although recreational marijuana is legal for consumption and retail distribution in Nevada, CES will not allow cannabis vapes on the showroom floor. "There are no cannabis or e-cigarette products on the exhibit floor at CES. The show does not have a category pertaining to this market," a spokesperson for CES told Mashable.However, even acknowledging that the cannabis industry has a place in tech is a step forward. "It shows how the perception of cannabis is changing," KEEP co-founder Ben Gliksman said in a press release. "And with change comes a need for safety and harm reduction in the home." KEEP is currently available for preorder in chalk white or slate black via crowdfunding for $149, and will ultimately retail for $249.