Blockchain for Canadian cannabis industry

Posted Nov 25, 2017 by Tim Sandle
IBM have made a suggestion to officials in Canada that they evaluate the advantages of using blockchain to control the supply and management for the soon-to-be legalized cannabis industry.
A one-ounce (28.3-gram) bag of cannabis and a bowl of seeds rest on a table at the headquarters of t...
A one-ounce (28.3-gram) bag of cannabis and a bowl of seeds rest on a table at the headquarters of the DC Cannabis Campaign on February 26, 2015, on the first full day of marijuana legalization in Washington
Robert MacPherson, AFP/File
IBM have passed on their proposal to the government of British Columbia, according to the website Smat2Zero. The proposal outlines how blockchain digital ledger technology can be used to track the distribution of the drug, from cultivation to point of sale.
The technology company submitted their proposal in response to a request for public feedback issued by the Western Canadian province. This was put out in advance of the planned national legalization of recreational cannabis use, which should come into force in July 2018.
The application of blockchain, according to IBM, presents an ideal, transparent technology to address concerns with criminal activity or fraud. Blockchain will aid and offer visibility for sourcing, selling, and pricing of products. Moreover, certified producers will be able to track inventory and supply.
Through the use of data analytics, producers will also be able to make meaningful demand projections and review consumption trends. Moreover, everyone within the network will be able to see all of the data; real-time data collection would further allow the cannabis products to be tracked and traced at any given time point.
This is summed up in a statement from IBM, which states succinctly: “This type of transparency would bring a new level of visibility and control to the provincial regulators.”
The IBM spokesperson adds: “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.”
While the potential application of blockchain to cannabis production is headline grabbing, the news adds another layer to the growing applications of blockchain to pharmaceuticals and healthcare. With current technology, data exchange in healthcare happens in high frequency among stakeholders, across varying platforms and technologies. With this there is the risk of error and vulnerability to cyberattack.
Advanced digital ledger technology or “blockchain,” can be used to ensure security and establish provenance, according to Pharmaceutical Technology magazine. For pharmaceuticals, for example, blockchain can aid with the secure transmission of sensitive patient data and clinical information.