BioTrackTHC system issues disrupt Illinois cannabis sales

(This story has been updated to clarify a statement made by BioTrackTHC’s spokesman.)

Approximately one in five medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois had to temporarily close Thursday because of a problem with the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, which is a software developed by BioTrackTHC.

BioTrackTHC, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, reported 16 of roughly 80 dispensaries in Illinois were affected.

“I am frustrated and chagrined by how these systems work,” Jeremy Unruh, director of public and regulatory affairs at PharmaCann, told Marijuana Business Daily. All four of PharmaCann’s Illinois dispensaries were affected.

Unruh said employees at PharmaCann’s Arlington Heights location noticed the problem when they arrived at the store about 9:40 a.m. Central Time. The dispensary typically opens for business at 11 a.m. but had to wait till 1 p.m. Thursday, when the problem was resolved.

Eric Eizinger, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which oversees the state’s MMJ program, wrote in an email to MJBizDaily that dispensaries are not allowed to do business when the state’s tracking system is inoperative.

BioTrackTHC spokesman Jefferey Gonring said there was “a complication with a third-party integrator that caused issues” but did not elaborate about the problem.

The issue existed for 1-2 hours, and no data was lost, Gonring reported.

7 comments on “BioTrackTHC system issues disrupt Illinois cannabis sales
  1. John on

    The saddest part about this is they didn’t know how to function without a computer. In system outages we go to a paper menu and handle it, not sitting around waiting for a computer to work. Time = Patients Helped x Money Made. Period.

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  2. Sarijuana on

    Welcome to our world, Illinois. The BioTack glitches and problems we experience with regularity in NM has become a way of life for many dispensaries. It takes countless hours to fix it’s issues. Ancient software.

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  3. Barry B on

    I want to echo John’s sentiment, there needs to be some sort of contingency for when issues occur that lets business continue. The mentality that these systems will go away and it will be like it used to be for any of us in any state is asinine. In a lot of ways these systems have made the industry a lot better, not without their share of frustrations for sure.

    As someone who first worked in Denver for a bit before moving to Spokane, WA I can tell you that they ALL suck. Both Metrc and BioTrack have slightly more antiquated feel to them, but the RFID thing is a freaking joke that doesn’t work for (for grows at least), MJF’s Leaf Data Systems being the “newest looking” system is the biggest pile of crap any of us have ever used. With the issues I’ve seen in all 3, and especially in the state of things in WA now for us… we miss BioTrack more than you can imagine. Even with our 3rd party system, the old BioTrack API was at least consistent and reliable. Sucks you guys in IL are having issues. All states need to have some sort of technology contingency in place though, this is absurd that something that happens to Amazon and Microsoft regularly too should stop anyone from getting a little cannabis. I’m not really a big fan of any of this extra step BS, but this article should probably be focusing on why that doesn’t occur at the state level instead of bashing a software vendor. But I guess that’s the state of some of these news mediums these days.

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  4. Jim L on

    This comment nailed it. Anyone who has operated in states with different traceability systems will tell you they are all a nightmare, but the problem stems from the state’s unwillingness to allow businesses a temporary alternative in the event of an issue. MJFreeway/Leaf in WA has been essentially inoperable since it launched in March, which was supposed to launch November 2017. I spent 6 months on a contingency plan with no traceability system and we managed to continue business, though not without a significant added burden of time/cost. Metrc has statewide outages regularly, not to mention the spinning wheel of death (my metrc friends know what I’m talking about), and don’t even get me started on the waste of plastic, time and money that is RFID. All of that said, if either of them are down (speaking from experience in CO and WA), my business and sales continue. The spokesperson referenced that it was an issue with a 3rd party integrator, so I would bet the businesses that were affected are all on the same 3rd party system (why wasn’t pharmacann asked what 3rd party system they’re using?). That same scenario has happened to multiple 3rd party systems in WA, BioTrack included (meaning someone’s integration is not working, so anyone on a given system is affected). Per the philly enquirer article, PA hasn’t had a functional system in months, but businesses are getting by with pen and paper. This is an issue with the state’s protocol, but the writer didn’t seem interested in mentioning that.

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