WA cannabis firms may be without seed-to-sale system until 2018

Marijuana companies in Washington state may have to record their business transactions manually for at least two months because the state will lack a working seed-to-sale tracking system, thanks to a delay in getting a new platform online.

The Washington State Liquor and Control Board has announced that Leaf Data Systems – Denver-based MJ Freeway’s seed-to-sale tracking program – won’t go live until Jan. 1. That’s two months after BioTrackTHC’s current contract ends with the state.

The BioTrackTHC seed-to-sale platform is scheduled to go offline Oct. 31.

The potential two-month service gap is partially the result of the LCB’s decision in May to initially select Franwell’s seed-to-sale provider Metrc to replace BioTrackTHC.

But when Metrc backed out of the deal, the state was forced to return to the drawing board, eventually settling on runner-up MJ Freeway in June. A new contract was signed in July.

“We had to blow through one vendor first, or else we would have probably been in the timeline,” said Jeremy Moberg, a Washington licensee and a member of the Traceability Advisory Committee.

According to Moberg, the deal with Metrc fell apart over the inclusion of RFID cards and added costs.

Moberg said the LCB’s request for proposal stated explicitly that MJ businesses using the seed-to-sale system shouldn’t incur new costs. Metrc’s new system, however, would have required cultivators to tag their plants at a cost of a dollar each.

In an emailed statement, MJ Freeway spokesperson Jeannette Ward noted state regulators and the company faced “a compressed timeline” since signing their contract in July – necessitating the backup plan in which business owners will use Excel spreadsheets to record their transactions.

“The decision to go with the contingency plan during the interim is because we are insistent on delivering a high-performing system that has been thoroughly tested and retested,” she added.

The LCB said it has pursued a contract extension with BioTrackTHC, but the company didn’t respond to the state’s financial offer for an extension.

BioTrackTHC CEO Patrick Vo said his company hasn’t declined the extension offer. Rather, the company is hoping to resolve outstanding issues with the state before the extension offer can be considered.