BLOCKCHAIN AND CANNABIS
Cannabis has always been and remains a hot topic for most of the countries, however, the world is moving towards the decriminalization of not only medical cannabidiols, that take part in the treatment process, but also towards the legalization in terms of recreational use. Not mentioning pros and cons of such a decision, this tendency means a need for the services in the supply chain management, as well as in assuring the safety of consumers.
There can be a lot of different ways to protect customers and fight counterfeit products, but today our team would like to show you, the reader, a new, unique path based on the innovative technological solution.
THE CHALLENGES CANNABIS MARKET FACES
One of the nations that has made marijuana legal for recreational use is Canada, where the Cannabis Act, it has come into effect on Oct. 17, 2018. Such a decision became first among the Group of Seven (intergovernmental organization consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) and could push other members towards legalization. However, as with every product, or service, the whole business is facing its challenges related to supply chain management or counterfeiting.
One of the significant problems is the presence of illegal market participants. Even after the legalization, a big number of sellers remain in the so-called black markets, that is mainly connected to the strict rules and high operational costs. Besides, a lot of small retailers simply do not want to sell their products under the law, and focus more on exporting them to other states where the use of marijuana remains unlawful. The reasons for this are higher revenue, lack of regulations and taxes.
Another challenge is the contrasting regulation. Canada is a federal state, and every province has its own legislative norms, just like in the case with tobacco and alcohol, and even since the seed-to-sale system is mandatory, it can lead to complexity within the country, as well as during the exporting process.
The integration of all participants in the supply chain is a must in order to achieve the safety of the products and be transparent to the customers, however, that can be challenging and costly in terms of the organization of such a process.
Other difficulties that are happening in Canada regarding the cannabis market include supply fragmentation, that can harm small and medium enterprises because of unpredictable supply chain strategies, or the unclear forecast, as it is the first case of marijuana to be legalized in a big country.
Most of these and other challenges can be if not fully solved, but at least significantly improved by the implementation of blockchain technology, that will let producers and consumers be sure of the quality and the origin of the product.
“Blockchain will be the Next Big Thing. The technology behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, like the start of the Internet in the early 1990s, but it has huge potential.” — Sensi Seeds, team of experts.
SOLUTIONS BASED ON BLOCKCHAIN
A key concern in the cannabis industry is ensuring the safety of customers, preventing fraud and counterfeiting, as well as building a basis of transparency to allow effective regulation. Blockchain allows for the construction of a digital ledger that is transparent, distributed, trustworthy, and can be used to document transactions and data from various organizations through a complex network. Inside the technology, past information on a block cannot be changed without modifying the information on all prior blocks and the network consensus.
The innovation includes:
- Decentralization. In blockchain, multiple nodes hold a copy of the same data, and it reduces the risk of a single failure point;
- Immutability. Data is written using cryptographic services and can not be changed without detection;
- Consensus is ensured by a decentralized public ledger across multiple nodes of the business chain;
- Participatory. The technology allows all participants to have an equal voice in decision, data sharing, or protection.
All these aspects could lead to improvements and great benefits for the cannabis industry in Canada, and around the globe. Tracing of the information is easier, and lets big corporations and customers be sure about the quality of the product, and its supply chain from the manufacturer to the shop.
In some countries, cannabis is being used for medical purposes, but some people use duplicate prescriptions to resell the production in the countries where it is illegal, however, with the implementation of blockchain, doctors will be able to put all the information in the unchanged and protected platforms, where pharmaceutical workers could see and verify the exact prescription.
Control of the cannabis market from the side of the government is a big challenge, and many countries do not legalize it mostly because of it. Nevertheless, with the use of blockchain, the authority is able to access, share, monitor and analyze the situation in the country. It can protect fair producers, and all parties from cyber attacks, allow for an independent third-party verification of records as well as minimize the risk of fraud.
Moreover, the government can fight against the black market by controlling sources, selling and pricing of the product. With access to complex data, the state is able to help producers with real-time inventory management and help retailers to identify supply or demand gaps.
WHAT SHOULD WE CONCLUDE FROM THIS?
The blockchain is developing in every sphere and its implementation is the question of time, as it can significantly help governments and other players in the market with transparency and efficient supply chain management, and that is exactly why 3IPK is eager to bring the technology into the massive use around the world.