Seed-To-Sale Software Delay Burdens Cannabis Industry in Washington State

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Canna-businesses in Washington State are going to be facing an extra burden of paperwork during this fall’s harvest season, thanks to a delay in the state’s adoption of a new seed-to-sale tracking system. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) selected MJ Freeway to replace BioTrackTHC as the state’s cannabis compliance software contractor this spring, but announced this week that the company will not be ready to takeover operations by the deadline of October 31st.

The state’s seed-to-sale system tracks all cannabis plants from when they are eight inches tall through harvest, processing, and all the way until they are packaged and sold. Until the new software is ready, canna-business owners will be forced to manually handle all of this reporting via Excel spreadsheets. Businesses will now only need to report weekly, rather than daily, but the additional work is a great burden for businesses already working hard to harvest their current crops. Industry insiders are also concerned that the lack of an online seed-to-sale system will draw the unwelcome attention of federal authorities looking to crack down on legal cannabis sales.

The delay is not a surprise to many industry insiders, who warned that the state did not budget enough time to make the transition between the two companies. “We’re predicting disaster,” wrote David Busby, of cannabis software firm WeedTraQR, in a blog post this July, noting that the tracking system “is a pretty large software project and has a very, very aggressive schedule.” Busby wrote that MJ Freeway’s software was “barely ready for prime time” and that there are “thousands of businesses to migrate, three years of data, and at least six third party API vendors.”

The WSLCB apparently offered BioTrackTHC a chance to extend its contract for four more months, which the company declined over security concerns about collaborating with MJ Freeway. “Though the WSLCB insists that no security breach [at MJ Freeway] occurred, BioTrackTHC finds the evidence presented by other third parties compelling enough that it cannot extend the contract and continue to risk its security and reputation without conclusive assurances that the alleged breach either did not happen or did happen but has since been remedied,” wrote CEO Patrick Vo in a recent statement.