Delaware Executes Cannabis Tracking Contract With BioTrackTHC

DELAWARE: The State of Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the government agency responsible for regulating the medical use of cannabis in Delaware, has executed the state’s cannabis seed-to-sale tracking and patient registry contract with BioTrackTHC.

Delaware’s stated goals for the Medical Marijuana Program include, “protect the people of Delaware by minimizing the risk of theft and diversion of marijuana to unregistered individuals,” and, “regulate the production and sale of medical grade marijuana to registered individuals.”  In pursuit of those goals, DHSS in 2016, issued a Request for Proposals for the Delaware Enterprise Consolidated Cannabis Control System, their designation for an integrated statewide seed-to-sale cannabis tracking and patient registry system.

“Our sincerest thanks to DHSS for choosing Team BioTrack,” said Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC.  “DHSS has been wonderful to work with throughout the contracting process, and we look forward to partnering with them to provide the tools and data they need to continue overseeing the industry and protecting their patients.”

The implementation of an integrated seed-to-sale tracking and patient registry system will enable the state to keep close tabs on the activity of the Medical Marijuana Program.  Designated state officials will be able to view compassion center data—including plants counts and usable inventory, lab results, transportation, and point-of-sale data—to perform periodic audits and ensure compliance.  Additionally, the patient registry portion of the system will improve patient accessibility to the Program by automating the patient application process and decreasing application processing times.

BioTrackTHC currently has live seed-to-sale government traceability systems in WashingtonNew MexicoIllinoisHawaiiNew York; and the city of Arcata, California.

Washington State’s Cannabis Tracking Contract Up For Bid

By Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily

WASHINGTON: Washington state regulators have begun accepting bids for a new seed-to-sale tracking system to keep tabs on marijuana commerce, a deal with an initial value of about $3 million.

The competition likely will be fierce, given that the contract involves one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

But businesses won’t be squaring off against the provider of the state’s current seed-to-sale system, BioTrackTHC. The company said it has no plans to bid for the new contract, saying it is uncomfortable with some specifics of the state’s proposal.

BioTrackTHC’s contract expires in October.

Bids for the new contract are due by April 26, and the state hopes to have the new system in place by Oct. 31, Brian Smith, communications director for Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), told Marijuana Business Daily.

The contract length will be negotiated.

BioTrack Bowing Out

State government contracts have become a lucrative – and prestigious – source of income for software companies that provide seed-to-sale tracking systems. In some states, numerous competitors have submitted bids for contracts, which are often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.

BioTrackTHC first won Washington’s contract in 2013.

It beat out 21 other companies, netting $750,000 for the base deal and even more as part of a two-year maintenance agreement. But the company’s software platform has come under criticism from commercial cannabis growers who complained it was costing them time and money.

Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, argues that the LCB’s proposed system is less robust than the company’s existing platform.

And he believes the language in the bidding documents, or RFP (request for proposals), may not satisfy requirements spelled out in the U.S. Justice Department’s Cole Memo.

“At this time, with the requirements that are in the RFP, we are not comfortable with bidding,” Vo said.

System Price Tag, Revamp

Washington’s planned seed-to-sale system carries a price tag of approximately $3 million for initial installation.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board is contributing $980,000 to help cover the costs. State lawmakers must develop a plan to pay the rest.

The platform allows regulators to monitor cannabis companies’ supply chain – everything from cultivation and transportation to dispensary inventories and sales.

Washington’s cannabis market is burgeoning. Sales nearly doubled in 2016, increasing 95% to $696 million. (Last year, Washington merged its previously unregulated medical marijuana market into its heavily regulated adult-use industry.)

Initially, the state developed its requirements for the tracking system before any marijuana licenses were issued. The system met the state’s initial needs, the LCB’s Smith said. But now, with some 1,600 licensees, it’s necessary to revamp it.

Since operations began, Smith said, the state cannabis market has grown “exponentially” and has exceeded the current platform’s capacity. Washington has about 500 MJ retailers and some 1,200 producers and processors.

According to Smith, his agency wants an existing off-the-shelf system given the LCB’s “aggressive timeline.”

“The vendors for this aren’t limited to the marijuana industry,” he added. “It could be anyone who maintains systems like this for other products in other industries. We need a more robust system that can flex with Washington’s growing, maturing marijuana system.”

To pay for the system’s ongoing cost, the annual license fee for the seed-to-sale contractor would rise to $1,300 from the current $1,000.

Roll with the punches

Like state regulators, industry officials want a new system that’s flexible and can adapt to a changing cannabis industry.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know when the state originally procured a system,” said Lori Lizotte, a member of the Washington CannaBusiness Association. “The industry has evolved, and as the industry evolved, the needs have changed.”

When Washington legalized adult-use cannabis, regulations were applied that have since been amended and changed. The state has struggled to alter the tracking system to account for those changes, according to Lizotte. Each change requires customizing the system, which comes with a “very, very expensive” price tag, she said.

BioTrackTHC’s Vo countered that his company’s current system “is very configurable.”

“The government platforms that we have deployed in other states are all different. They’ve all been configured for their specific regulations,” he added.

Mixed reviews

Karl Keich, who owns two marijuana retail stores in Washington, hasn’t experienced any glitches with BioTrackTHC.

“We haven’t had any issues,” he said.

He does hope the state will award a contract for a system that uses an interface that integrates easily with the different of point-of-sale software systems used by rec shops and dispensaries.

By contrast, Jeremy Moberg – president of the Washington Sungrowers Association and CEO of Cannasol Farms, a producer/processor company in Okanogan County, Washington – hasn’t been happy with BioTrackTHC.

Moberg uses the system for the reports the state requires and said simple tasks, such as sorting correctly and narrowing margins, have been “subpar.”

“It really doesn’t function on a business level very well, or very efficiently,” he added. “So I’ve invested a lot of time and resources and money into writing functional software over the top of BioTrack.”

 

The Marijuana Industry And Its First Crossroads

Marijuana has come a long way in the United States since California launched its first-in-the-nation medical program 19 years ago. Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis to some degree, and public perception of the plant is clearly shifting. Medical marijuana is being used in treatment of a variety of illnesses including several types of seizures, cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.

New polls by GallupBeyond the Beltway, and General Social Survey all show that for the first time since its prohibition, a majority of Americans support legalization of the plant. Change is coming to the American cannabis industry, and it’s time to prepare for it in earnest.

Marijuana is now on the cusp of mainstream legitimacy, and established business interests are beginning to work with the initial trailblazers of the American cannabis market. Further, while technological innovation is revolutionizing everyindustry, breakthrough ideas in a market as young this one have the chance to become defining cornerstones. Early-to-market products and solutions are seeing widespread adoption in absence of entrenched industry leaders.

New technology firms are playing a major part in increasing the efficiency, transparency, and security of the legal cannabis market. MJ FreewayBioTrack THC, and Agrisoft have all developed software to track the plant from seed-to-sale, protecting the integrity of the supply chain at every step. Additionally, I constantly see proposals from developers aiming to find new ways to connect grower to sellers and sellers to consumers.

MJBA Unveils 2nd Installation of The Road To Prosperity Poster Campaign

WASHINGTON: Think Rosie the Riveter with a passion for cannabis: The Marijuana Business Association (#MJBA), a leading trade organization representing the interests of participants in the fast-growing legal cannabis industry, unveiled the second installation in its “Road to Prosperity” series by artist Michael Guttsen at the monthly meetup of the Seattle MJBA held last night at Magical Butter Studios in Seattle’s SODO district.
The campaign is reminiscent of the Depression-era WPA posters and emphasizes the economic and cultural prosperity available through the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. “We are very excited to get delivery of poster #2 in #MJBA “Road to Prosperity” series by artist Michael Guttsen,” MJBA CEO David Rheins announced to the group, “Think Rosie the Riveter of Reform! This poster is dedicated to the MJBA Women’s Alliance, and the 100 strong female-owned cannabis businesses they represent, for setting a new standard in ethical business practices.”
Copies of the poster will be available, FREE, with paid membership, at the upcoming MJBA Job Fair, to be held at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue, WA on Saturday, September 27, 2014.  The event is being sponsored by Weedhire.com job board, and will showcase “High Paying Jobs In Legal Marijuana” from Washington Companies, including: IONIC, Evergreen Herbal, Eden Labs, Viridian Sciences, RMMC, Marijuana Venture, Blue Line Protection Group, BioTrack THC and many others.