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Data Tracing

by Paige Reimers, 8/26/20

Track-and-trace systems were designed to provide regulators of all shapes and sizes vital information to promote their mission. Tracking products in “high-risk” industries is essential, but one of the most significant benefits is the ability to trace any product back to its source. For cannabis, this means from the second a seed (or clone) is put in soil, to the moment it is sold to a patient or consumer, data is available. Every product you see on the retail shelf has a history, or “story,” that can be traced through information reported by growers, manufacturers, distributors (in some markets), and retailers. One example of the importance of this type of tracking is in Public Health departments, which can track the product back to the source in the case of a recall.

In recent history, there was an issue across the nation with vape cartridges containing tainted material. While many of these cases were from illegal (untracked) plants and products, to calm the public, it was important for regulators to confirm that the source material in legal vape cartridges was tested, regulated, and safe.  The regulators also encouraged consumers to purchase from only licensed stores who have testing and labeling requirements and to take advantage of the knowledge that was available to them.

In this case, if the product on the shelf could not be traced back to its source plant, it had to be destroyed. Across the market, if these data ties didn’t exist, it would have been impossible to have that certainty, and most likely 100% of the product, regardless of legality, would have been destroyed.

We all hear the grimaces from business owners who are new to this type of infrastructure. Still, more than ever, it is essential to continue promoting WHY track-and-trace is important and how it supports good business and good actors.

About the Author:
Paige Reimers

Paige started her career in sales, compliance, and operations at both retail and commercial banks. There, she learned the importance both of risk management and KYC (know-your-customer) and saw firsthand... more