It may be called "herb," but cannabis is a far more complex plant to nurture than the basil and thyme on your windowsill; that is, if you want it to sprout some dank nugs. As Canadians wait, expectantly, to legalize cannabis use and cultivation, one company is bringing a home grow-op solution that takes out all the guesswork and could save moderate consumers a lot of money. 

The team opened a booth this morning at the second annual MNP O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo in Toronto, armed with an $800,000 initial investment and an even more valuable product. 

Mary was developed by Frank Qin and his team in an effort to take the hard work out of growing cannabis at home so that more people could do it with satisfying results. 


After talking to businesses at a previous trade show, all of whom deal in cultivation, it became clear to us at Roottie that one of the most prolific areas of growth is in home horticulture. But one of the most significant problems for home growers is trying to shoehorn a large-scale solution into a house or apartment. Maybe someone has a whole room to dedicate to their mini farm, while another can only pitch a tent.

With Mary, consumers get more of a plug-and-play model where the guesswork is taken out of managing light and nutrients— individual sensors do the diagnostic work and tell you, the human, what else you can do. Frank says that used regularly, Mary can help save cannabis consumers a lot of money, whether they are growing for medicinal purposes or recreation. 

On the outside, Mary is a slick cabinet made of glass that goes from tinted to transparent to give plant parents a peek of their baby. On the inside, Frank says, it's a sunny day in California.  

"We use pre-measured nutrients so that at each stage, you have the ideal range of nutrients required to pour into the reservoir. The user doesn't need to know anything about these measurements," says Frank. He remembers one time taking two hours to balance the pH of the water he was using to test the home hydroponics process.

Frank explains that while water is an ideal environment for growing cannabis indoors, it allows for less error. When you grow in soil, the dirt creates a buffer zone, protecting the plant from human mistakes and pH imbalances. 

"The plant might get sick, but it won't die. Water is more volatile; if you screw up one thing, the plants could die very easily. And if you forget to turn on the air pump, which happened to me once, it will die."

With his invention, Frank says, everything is automatic, connected to IoT chips: reachable on the cloud, the user has full control over the grow system, using the secure Mary app on their mobile phone.

In person, users pop open the pre-measured bottles, pour them into Mary's water reservoir and toss the spent bottles into their regular recycling box. Beyond feeding, Mary's AI can also correct human errors in temperature, humidity, light and pest control. 

In the future, Mary users will even be able to co-opt a cannabis-sitter, who can monitor the plants and feed the nutrients in as needed. 

Frank and the Mary team are currently showcasing their product at the O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo. They will join over 100 industry speakers from across North America, as well as a variety of workshops and seminars on the exhibition floor of the International Centre, near Pearson International Airport.

You can find them there until June 8th. You can also catch seminars lead by industry experts—Licensed Producers, recreational brands, medical patients, and physicians—who are teaching entrepreneurs about the best practices of this ever-evolving industry and giving investors insights on how to navigate it all. 

For the full schedule and more information about the O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo, visit

  Posted: Thursday, June 7th, 10:24pm 5 months ago
Profile PictureWritten By: Alana Armstrong

Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.

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