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Cannabis data helping Regulators warm up to Industry

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The leading executive for a company that provides cannabis tracking software told INN that strong data is helping US state officials warm up to the industry.

The leader of a cannabis-focused software company sees the industry maturing as data brings clarity to regulators.

Metrc is a provider of cannabis regulatory systems in the US, offering a software-as-a-service program for tracking cannabis along the supply chain. CEO Michael Johnson told the Investing News Network (INN) that access to this type of data has made regulatory officials far more comfortable with the cannabis industry by giving them a clearer picture of the seed-to-sale process.

“The way to de-stigmatize the impressions associated with cannabis is really in providing the insight and the transparency into what's actually happening in the cannabis space,” he said.

Metrc building partnerships with US states

Johnson explained that US state governments will pick one single tool to use for their regulatory structure.

“We're the tool that many states have selected to be able to facilitate the legal tracking and tracing of cannabis throughout their ecosystem,” Johnson said. “State contracts are really critical.”

But the company isn’t stopping at US jurisdictions. According to Johnson, Metrc aspires to create visibility for its services across the globe. The executive said Metrc has received inquiries from nations in Europe, Asia and South America.

“Our system is really a supply chain transparency platform that allows for every element of a cannabis plant lifecycle to be documented. All of the different elements that would go into producing cannabis products are documented and maintained within the tool,” Johnson commented to INN.

When asked if he expects the US to see cannabis reform at the federal level anytime soon, the CEO said things are heading in the right direction, but regulators need more assurance that safety and public health interests will be taken into account.

“Sometimes we're going really fast. And sometimes we're going really slow. And sometimes we're not going anywhere at all,” he said.

Clear cannabis data provides comfort to regulators

Johnson believes that tracking software has helped expand regulators' level of comfort with the cannabis industry, especially those who may just be starting to become familiar with the market.

“(Cannabis is) tracked all the way through the process, including who touched it, who transported it, who ultimately bought it,” he said. "That level of visibility allows for a lot higher comfort."

This type of data is also key to combating unregulated items, which remain a problem in states where cannabis is legal. Market share for these black market products remains stable and sometimes even outmuscles offerings from regulated operators.

The same effect has taken place in Canada, the first G7 nation to legalize adult-use cannabis. One of the most clear and recent signs that Canadian operators are feeling the pressure from unregulated products is new numbers showing just how much waste the legal industry has produced.

 

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