The David Lam Park in the Chinatown district of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reg Natarajan

IBM Pitches Blockchain Tech to British Columbia, Canada Government for Legal Cannabis Tracking

IBM is pitching blockchain technology to the British Columbia, Canada government as “an irrefutable chain of custody audit for the seed-to-sale of cannabis.” According to the Oct. 1 document, IBM says the technology can help the government “take control of sourcing, selling, and pricing” of cannabis products, assist producers with inventory management in real time, and assist retailers identify supply and demand gaps “and ways to mitigate those gaps” including providing feedback to producers and using data to create “predictive insights.”

In the document, the company boasts the security and transparent features of blockchain technology – it’s distributed among users, it uses cryptography to prevent alterations, and it is shared among all parties in the network.

“Its relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chains of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains,” the document states. “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.”

At least two technology startups have already targeted Colorado’s legal cannabis industry as a market for their blockchain tech; and in September, Paragon launched both a cryptocurrency and blockchain service aimed at the cannabis space.

Officials in British Columbia have not yet announced the full details of how they will regulate the legal cannabis industry in the province once federal legalization rolls out; however, more than 48,000 British Columbians responded to a recent government request for public comments on the issue as part of an ongoing engagement process by a provincial government working group.

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