Washington State's cannabis industry is on the quest to search for a viable solution to the eminent problem surrounding the cannabis industry in regard to software delays. The industry is seeking a temporary fix for the crucial problem.
An announcement was made sometime last week to the businesses by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board notifying them of the problem.
It turns out that the new "seed-to-sale" traceability software platform won't be ready to launch at the end of the month.
Pot shops are required to have detailed data on every product that they sell. This constitutes the brand,
supplier, the SKU number and all the information that is fed to the state database, this makes sure that every plant is accounted for from the time its produced to the time it gets on the consumers hand.
Every business is required to input the data in the system, regardless of whether its involved in the growing process or selling. The whole process is simplified by state since it provides some software to handle the process. The free software was intended to switch to a new vendor, MJ Freeway by the end of the month.
This did not unfold as planned since MJ Freeway announced that there was going to be a delay, this placed most businesses in panic mode because the feared that this could impact them negatively in regard to the sales in the market.
A statement released by WSLCB revealed that it made the decision in a bid to prepare for the implementation of the contingency plan.
"That would be a nightmare," said Melissa Champoux, who is the inventory lead at Hashtag, a retailer in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. "It would be very easy to make a one-digit error in a 16-digit code."
The delay is not just affecting the persons who handle the inventory, but the business owner as well, who has to pay staff for the extra time it takes to enter the data.
"It raises the cost of everything we sell so we have to pass on a higher cost to the consumer," said Logan Bowers, Hashtag's owner.
"It increases the risk our business will be shut down by the federal government or be more thoroughly scrutinized," he said.
According to the LCB, the impact is limited, adding that only a quarter of the 1900 licensees uses the state's software. However, the members of its advisory board aren't certain it won't have widespread impact.
"We're all stressed out," said Jeremy Moberg of CannaSol Farms in Okanagan. Jeremey is concerned that the delay might disrupt the supply chain. He’s of the opinion that the state should consider dumping the database and regulate the cannabis industry using audits.
"This has been quite a hassle," said Moberg. "It's going to continue to be quite a hassle and maybe they should leave it up to third parties to handle in the future."
Reports indicate that the new traceability platform should be ready by January 1, 2018. In the meantime, the advisory board and LCB revealed that they’re still trying to formulate a temporary solution to the delay.