IBM Proposes Blockchain to British Columbia for Legal Cannabis Tracking

Blockchain, News, Regulation | November 7, 2017 By:

Tech giant IBM has recommended blockchain technology to the government of British Columbia as an irrefutable chain of custody audit for the seed-to-sale of cannabis.

Back in April, the government of Canada introduced the Cannabis Act and amendments to the Criminal Code to address cannabis-impaired driving, with plans to make non-medical cannabis legal in Canada by July 2018. The BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement committee invited stakeholders to submit proposals by November 1, and received over 130 suggestions on how to implement legal cannabis. The BC government was seeking feedback on topics like minimum age, personal possession limits, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation and distribution and retail models.

IBM suggested that blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control from seed to sale.

IBM said that blockchain can help the BC government take control of sourcing, plus selling and pricing of products, so therefore can reduce or eliminate black market sales completely. The technology can assist producers with real-time inventory management, greater projections of supply and demand, and also elicit trends of consumption through data analytics. An interconnected blockchain network can assist retailers, identify supply/demand gaps ways to mitigate those gaps, providing feedback mechanisms to producers, and use data to create predictive insights.

“Its relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chains of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains,” IBM said. “The core to those supply chains is the same, assuring health and safety of consumers, preventing fraud and counterfeiting while creating a foundation of transparency upon which to base regulation.”