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The Burden of Data

by Mark Nassi, 10/21/20

Every day, new data is coming in from MRBs. Nearly every day, we get a question or complaint about the data being requested. The complaints range from “this is too much of a burden” to “this is proprietary data we don’t want to share.”

We at NCS have done our best to collect the smallest amount of data to meet your objectives. At the end of the day, our job is to validate the activities of your licensees. We think of this as legitimizing a high-risk industry by weeding (no pun intended) out the nefarious players. We want to help you with a more targeted approach for investigation which is how we developed our tiered alerts and our blue box values.

In order to accomplish our objectives, there have to be certain standards like data integrity (submission methodology), the timing of data (making sure the data isn’t so old that it’s no longer usable), and the data content itself (garbage in = garbage out). None of us want to add more work to these MRBs, but these standards are essential.

In my background (accounting), almost all businesses use some kind of ERP system (Quickbooks, Dynamics, Xero, SAP, MAS, etc). Although ERPs may look different, debits and credits are still the same. What we don’t see in the cannabis industry is that same standardization; definitions are fluid/subjective. Yes, state tracking systems standardize. However, the data going into the system can vary based on the definitions of the licensees’ platforms. One of the common questions we see, for example, is the definition of when a harvest is completed. From our data perspective, that’s simple; it’s the point when the final measurements are taken so we can analyze all aspects of the harvest. But, from a licensee’s perspective, it can mean multiple things ranging from when the plant was chopped down to when the product went into its final form. This huge range can really alter the analysis.

There’s no magic bullet to standardizing all data. Obviously, legislative rules and definitions help. The NCS Platform provides questions that direct the conversations you have with your licensees which can help educate on what the correct submissions should look like. And of course, time tends to smooth out data trends.

About the Author:
Mark Nassi

Mark has a 17-year career spanning across technology, public accounting, and financial services. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of California-Davis as well as... more