Controversial Cannabis Technology at CES 2020

Award-winning products that couldn't appear at official CES events—let alone the main show floor

Mirroring CTA’s blunder at CES 2019—where they first awarded sex-tech company Lora DiCarlo with an Innovation Award in robotics for their pleasure device, Osé, then revoked it without sufficient reasoning—one cannabis company faced a similar fate at CES 2020.

Courtesy of KEEP Labs

KEEP, a biometric-login cannabis storage box received a 2020 Innovation Award as a home storage device—even though the CTA was wholly aware that it was designed to safeguard and sustain whole cannabis flower and all of its accessories. (There’s even a built-in rolling tray.) With an interior purposefully outfitted for prolonging freshness, there was no hiding what exactly the KEEP box did. But, after granting the award, the CTA informed KEEP that all marketing materials, show floor signs, and graphics had to be entirely cannabis-free.

Courtesy of KEEP Labs

The CTA’s demand also meant that KEEP couldn’t utter the words cannabis, marijuana, Mary Jane, pot, or weed on the floor or at any CES-sponsored events. As such, KEEP chose to bow out of presenting in an official capacity.

The CTA’s response drew instant criticism and rightful comparisons to the back-and-forth over Lora DiCarlo’s Osé device just 12 months prior.

Courtesy of PAX Vapor

Like KEEP, longtime industry innovator PAX Vapor was also forbidden from showcasing their products on the official CES floor. As such, their new cannabis vaporizer, the Era Pro ($70), occupied a booth at Monday evening’s Digital Experience event, a preview independently organized by Pepcom. There, they showed off the Era Pro’s new body, an intelligent and elegant evolution of the original Era model. A bonus: it now charges via USB-C, and the battery lasts roughly 10% longer.

The new Pax Era Pro also comes with an upgraded app, but currently only Android users have access to it. Apple recently banned all vaping apps from the App Store given the federal government’s crackdown on the category. Luckily, the new model’s most impressive innovation lies within the body of the physical device and its matching pods, and works whether the app is available or not: a chip-reader within the body of the vaporizer can read NFC chips on new Era Pro cannabis concentrate pods (marked by a red ring) and adjust the temperature and dosing, provide information on the strain’s producer and its THC contents, and more. Like the KEEP safe, the Era Pro proves discreet but design-forward through every detail.

Hero image courtesy of KEEP Labs