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"Seed-to-sale" tracking systems

So I just talked to a dispensary owner in New Mexico who gave me an introduction to seed-to-sale tracking systems (specifically BioTrackTHC). In theory these seem like critical components of a well organized supply chain, however I then found out that some states mandate that single point of sale system be utilized as these companies won state level contracts. I’m curious as to what people’s thoughts are about this? If you live in a state that has this mandate are you comfortable with this arrangement? If you live in a state without a mandate like this do you think there are any positives/negatives to having a mandated seed-to-sale system?

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What do you think @DispensaryEmployees and @DispensaryOwners?

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I only have experience of the cultivation side.

Mandated here in Oregon via a bid system, metrc won. It is part of the registration cost rather than an additional expense. Is was going to be $40/mo, but the OLCC covers it and they actually didn’t raise the license fee. It is all fine by me, terrible system, but great customer service. We never had any major issues with it. They do listen to complaints and make changes to the system.

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for chiming in. Glad it didn’t hit your bottom line at all. Do you know if Oregon has any records of how this bidding process occurred? Was it open application/were there hearings with industry members for input?

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I am not positive on the bid process transparency, but every decision has a hearing process with open comments. I don’t think the bid selection was open comment.

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Tagging in @BioTrackTHC for feedback.

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There are three vendors selling seed-to-sale/track-and-trace to governments in the USA. BioTrackTHC, Franwell/METRC and MJ Freeway/LeafData. Each of these system also allow different levels of access via API so there are a number of third-party integrators that can provide supplemental crop and inventory management and other fun things.

The plus side to having a State system is that more-or-less cannabis business start all doing processes in a fairly similar way. And these State systems all enforce a QA product, so you know about the bud you are buying. Additionally, electronic data-transfer between supply & retail is easier, since it flows through the State system. Less data re-entry.

The down side is that these State systems sometimes get in the way of the business; regulations and all that. Or the State system is slow, or broken, or the laws have changed but the software hasn’t been updated. I have yet to meet a cannabis business owner who likes the State mandated system (n:>2000)

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Humboldt County, CA deployed SICPA Security LLC’s system back in 2015. The system’s underlying purpose is NOT quality control…every single one of them was designed as a LAW ENFORCEMENT tool from day one.

We wonder how long it is before track and trace causes a cannabis business owner to go to prison…it won’t all that long.

Wow, thanks for the in-depth answer @weedtraqr. I’m curious, if you are in a state that has a mandated system, how exactly do you remain compliant if the laws change, but the software which is mandated hasn’t caught up?

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@jszesq what leads you to believe that these are primarily law enforcement tools? I’m not disagreeing with you, just interested in what types of experiences you might have had that have led you to believe that these systems could be used to repress the industry.

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It has nothing to do with repressing an industry. The reality is that the tracking is first and foremost a tool to insure that the trail that legal cannabis takes to market can be followed.

Not trying to stir any pots here, but in my personal opinion these systems are just logical.
They satisfy the needs I will have as a producer for basic inventory tracking. It just makes good business sense to have as detailed an inventory as possible and rather than spending untold amounts of money to develop the system myself, these companies have already established a system and they’ve been operational long enough to have most coding flaws and best practice errors eradicated.
In Canada, Licensed Producers are governed on the Federal Level. Bill C-45’s original movement was created by putting an emphasis on reducing organised crime and protecting the youth of our beloved country. And personally, that’s one of the many reasons why I have decided to get into this industry and support the full legalisation and regulation.
Unfortunately, under medical laws, producers still sold product to the illicit market because there was a loophole for most people to circumvent the tracking systems. It’s well known that there was a long period of time where producers from California would overgrow their numbers and rather than destroying their inventory, they would move it east for a profit. Another example is a grower in my town here was shut down for stealing electricity from the lumber mill and non-compliance. I viewed that property two weeks ago as a possibility for our company and it became clear very quickly that even though this person had a license to grow a medicine for people, he never truly cared. I for sure wont be buying that property because of it.
It is because of these, and many other reasons why I believe that these tracking systems are essential not only to our businesses, but to the legalisation movement around the world as a whole.

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I clearly must not have a clue about this topic. So I will leave the topic to the experts.

I think we are having an open discussion. Your perspective is both useful and valued. I would like to encourage all people to chime in and respectfully agree and disagree as they see fit. After all the OP was designed to stimulate some debate.

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@jszesq - in all the locations where these systems are in place they are all used by the “traceability” or “enforcement” staff by the govt agency. Eg, the system shows you have 800 plants on record, enforcement arrives for an inspection, counts 1600 plants, many missing the required IDs. Boom, $10k. These systems are there to “track and trace” and enforcement officers basically audit the work.

@akinney generally the laws change gradually.

  • First an emergency ruling, (then your software updates)
  • Then there is a report (and your software updates)
  • Then the rules are finalized (and your software updates)
  • Then the rules go into affect (and your software updates)
  • But there was a bug in the State code (and your software updates)
  • Then more common knowledge about the legal change spreads around the industry (and your software updates)
  • Then you discover that some other business you work with haven’t been keeping up to date with the laws and didn’t know about some regulatory change (or their software interprets it differently) and to do work with them you need some workaround (and your software updates)

The short answer is, your software vendor needs to stay on top of that, aggressively.

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