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GCN : June 2015
[BrieFing] 6 GCN JUNE 2015 • GCN.COM METRC.COM States with legal marijuana indus- tries need technology to track plants from seed to sale and from doctors to patients. Tech companies are answer- ing the call in creative ways. Here are some examples. MAINE AND HAWAII: FROM HUNTING PERMITS TO MARIJUANA In partnership with the Maine Depart- ment of Health and Human Services, e-government services provider NIC developed an online service that allows doctors to issue patients a mari- juana certification that is watermarked for authenticity. Patients then take the certification to a distributor. Some information is collected in the process, including the physician’s name and ZIP code, and whether the patient is over the age of 18. The state uses that information to determine where distribution centers should be located. Dan Andrews, the Maine portal’s general manager, said the service also protects against fraud. The previous system “was basically just a Word document that providers would fill out and give to the patient. There was a lot of confusion. With the online service, it gets printed on official paper that gets watermarked.” NIC, which developed a similar sys- tem for Hawaii, launched in 1992 with a focus on streamlining government licensing and registration processes — from big-game-hunting permits to mo- tor vehicle services and now marijuana regulation. WASHINGTON AND NEW MEXICO: A SYSTEM BASED ON PHARMACEUTICAL DISTRIBUTION Washington state uses BioTrackTHC’s marijuana traceability software, which is based on parent company Bio-Tech Medical Software’s products for track- ing pharmaceuticals and preventing abuses such as patients going to mul- tiple doctors to receive prescriptions for the same medication. The system uses bar codes to enable traceability with a quick scan. “If [a plant] was found on the street, a law enforcement officer could scan it and find out instantly where it came from, where it’s going and whose it is,” Bio- TrackTHC CEO Steven Siegel said. Brian Smith, communications direc- tor at the Washington State Liquor Control Board, explained the steps a dispensary must go through to legally sell a plant. “I’m growing it,” he said. “I’m plugging it into the system. I’m coming up to a harvest date. I’m send- ing a lot sample to the lab and putting it in a travel manifesto to where the marijuana is going.” Then the marijuana travels from a processor to a retailer, where taxes are assessed and paid. “We could trace where a product needed to be recalled all the way back to that particular lot that it came from,” Smith added. New Mexico has also signed a contract to implement the BioTrack- THC system for monitoring its medical marijuana. COLORADO: RFID MOVES FROM CUCUMBERS TO KUSH When Colorado issued a request for proposals for a system to regulate States turn to tech for tracking marijuana BY SUZETTE LOHMEYER DUCOMMUN.COM Colorado uses Franwell’s Metrc system to track marijuana plants. 0615gcn_006-009.indd 6 6/4/15 11:11 AM