As legal states for medical and recreational marijuana continue to expand across the United States, with more having just been added in time for the election, the regulatory regimes overseeing the production and sale of pot are getting more sophisticated and more thorough.

Humboldt County, for example, is a section of California that legalized weed with the rest of the state and is currently operating a pilot program to “track and trace” legal medical marijuana from grower to dispensary to patient. The program called the Humboldt Cannabis Pilot Program, uses the latest in information technology to track the marijuana across the supply chain through a series of stamps that are applied to the crops by the grower and can be traced from that point on. This is done to ensure not just the legality of the way this cannabis is used but in ensuring that the patients who need it are not being sold anything less than the real deal.

This is the beginning of something that should lead, finally, to comprehensive regulations for the medical sector after years of failing to do so, including tracking requirements has started to grow. This has been done in partnership with the Swiss multinational security company, SICPA where Humboldt developed a cloud-based system for tracking cannabis, which was based on a model SICPA implemented with the state government to track cigarettes in 2005.

Each participating grower or manufacturer include in the program uses SICPA’s online platform to input information about their product into a distributed database, then attaches a coded stamp to each product, which can be scanned by county inspectors to look up the product’s origin and characteristics. This ensures that not only is the medical marijuana tracked and traced in every step of the delivery system between client and provider, but that it comes with a quality assurance that is utterly critical I a market as young as this and one that is still trying to get out of the shadow of the black market sales that have defined the industry for decades.

It may be a while before the system catches on in the rest of the country but, should it work as well as it promises to, no doubt we’ll be seeing more of it soon.

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