Washington State Cannabis Growers Upset With Inventory Tracking System, Urge Fixes

cannabis complaints

By John Schroyer

BioTrackTHC, one of the most prominent cannabis software firms in the country, is under fire from commercial cannabis growers who say the inventory tracking platform it developed for Washington State is costing them time and money.

A group of growers began circulating an online petition on March 19 calling for numerous changes to the state’s recreational marijuana program, including a possible overhaul of the system BioTrack developed and currently maintains.

The petition – which several hundred people have now signed – urges everything from an increase in the number of retail licenses to tweaks in testing regulations.

But many growers have said they are most interested in spurring changes to BioTrack’s inventory management system, said Susy Wilson, who co-founded the Cannabis Farmers Council, owns a cultivation company in southern Washington, and helped spearhead the petition.

Some are calling the system a “nightmare” and a time-suck that locks up frequently, creates inventory discrepancies and leads to other headaches.

Most complaints center around a free version of the platform BioTrack created per its agreement with the state, though numerous growers said they have had problems with the paid version as well.

“Most people that use the free version call it ‘BioTrash,'” Wilson said, adding that about 75% of the Cannabis Farmers Council’s roughly 400 member growers list the inventory tracking system as one of their top concerns in the petition. “We joke about it, but it’s really not very funny.”

The petition asks the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to hire a third-party software engineer to overhaul or revamp the BioTrackTHC system.

Wilson and others plan on delivering the petition to the LCB by the end of this week.

In a statement released to Marijuana Business Daily, BioTrack said the petition “represents a small percentage of total users of the state system” but that the company appreciates feedback and looks forward “to helping the industry grow and prosper.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had garnered 345 signatures, including those of representatives from at least 75 of the 680 licensed producer-processors in Washington that Marijuana Business Daily could confirm. Many of the other signatories include infused products manufacturers and ancillary cannabis firms.

Brian Smith, communications director for LCB, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

But Washington State marijuana consultant Karl Keich said the complaints sound like an overreaction.

“I know growers that have had issues with every particular system,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Companies also have a choice: They can use inventory software developed by other firms, as long as it links into the platform BioTrack created for the state.

Many smaller companies, however, use the free version BioTrack created because they can’t afford more expensive software.

BioTrack scored a major coup in 2013 when it won the contract to develop the inventory tracking platform for Washington State.

The deal helped BioTrack get a leg-up on the competition and gain credibility in the marijuana industry, fueling some of its subsequent growth.

While cannabis companies can upgrade to a paid version, those who pay thousands of dollars a year for that offering still say it could be significantly improved.

“We could have been written a violation due to some technical issue in BioTrack that we had no idea about,” said Tai Saito, the compliance and warehouse manager for Buddy Boy Farms in eastern Washington.

Saito said a major problem for his company – which pays roughly $430 a month to BioTrackTHC for its commercial version – is that it doesn’t automatically sync with the free platform. That means an employee has to manually synchronize the two systems on a weekly basis to ensure that the inventory the farm is entering is also updated in the state system.

That was a glitch he didn’t realize until a state inspector asked about it, he said.

It could have easily lead to a citation if, for example, a delivery driver showed up to a rec shop and an inspector happened to be there and noticed a discrepancy in the BioTrack inventory listing.

Growers who signed the petition also allege that the company has been unresponsive when it comes to requests for tech support and help.

“Unless you pay multiple hundred dollars a month, you really have a system that barely operates, takes a great deal of time… and makes you so furious that you’d like to reach through the system and murder someone on the other end,” Wilson said.

Many growers have quit using BioTrackTHC’s free version in favor of other offerings, even though competing software still costs several hundred dollars a month, said Dana Michie, lead grower at Canna Herb Farms.

“If I had to use the state site, I’d have to hire someone to sit here and enter all the data, versus making a few clicks,” Michie said.

As to whether the state will make overhauling BioTrackTHC’s system a priority, Michie says he thinks the LCB will because it’s been good at listening to the industry in the past.

Wilson isn’t so sure.

“I don’t have a lot of hope. I have a little hope,” she said.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

8 comments on “Washington State Cannabis Growers Upset With Inventory Tracking System, Urge Fixes
  1. numbnuts on

    when i talked with Dr.Moe he assured me they are working on it and have hired a huge staff to take care of the bugs. july 1st is the magic date for the update. its a huge project to align everyone, remember there is a whole new crew emerging as the medical is brought on line.
    think of the other states that are waiting for july 1st as well
    but yes they are right you can use companies like mjfreway and viridian sciences and they can link into bio track. the good labs that survive rjlee groups scrutiny will make it work. the switch gets flipped july 1st 2016.
    everything is all about to change…… better buckle in!

    • Eric Ogden on

      Viridian Sciences went out of business and the remaining assets were purchased by another company. MJ Freeway has left Washington as has Agrisoft because they did ever completely integrate with the WSLCB traceability database. For retailers they can choose Greenbits or BTHC and producer / processors may choose WeedTraQR, TraceWeed or BTHC.

  2. William Kandravi on

    Honest the best policy is do a good job to keep the [email protected] Govt. out. Do a good job, that is a big saying. Now the FDA,CDC and I could go on forever will lick there chops if given control.Make peace with all phases keep greed out or it will be like every other over controlled TAX MONOPOLY!Do a good job for all especially those in need.

  3. Steven North on

    The Retail Version, after the improvements, does not offer a comfort zone as to the accuracy of the reports. Always had math problems, now I cannot rely on what it produces.

  4. William West on

    Sorry, but personally I feel that if you have to go that far, then you open other doors of control. Where were these new business’s when this industry first started and the actual reasoning behind it? It all started in Cali in 1996, A Compassionate’s Act. From there the others began to emerge from the bowels of greed. I totally understand some control, mold, insects, etc… But this track from birth to death seed thing doesn’t really mean anything to a patient except possible strains will drop to the black market and or become “personal property of …)” It’s bad enough this is taking away from personal grows, it’s a plant that you’re trying your best to control, why? because you see a possible $ in it for yourself. when it was illegal you ran as far away from it as you could go. Now most will trample over disabled people to get their last dollar. ALl this does is keep prices out of the reach of the people that can’t afford it but are in need of it usually more than them. “In another bed, when you rest your head. Add a little sympathy”

  5. Secretsmoker on

    The recreational market in Washington is a joke. Most stores know nothing about their product and the product I have seen come out of the recreational stores is mediocre at best. The industry is rife with pesticides and dangerous chemicals. The NWCBA lied to our government to close out the medical markets here in Washington. They said patients were just fakers and they could grow and sell the same medicine and it would be safer and more reliable because of testing and the whole seed to sale business. Funny part is that the same labs that test for the recreational industry have been testing medical for years. The way I see it all the problems the recreational industry here is having are their own doing. They wanted all these controls and regulations. I think they thought it would help in stamping out the black market and the very long standing medical market that has served and continues to serve patients very well. If it is giving them headaches they are well deserved. They will not find any sympathy here.

  6. MJ Freeway on

    MJ Freeway fully supports this petition, as we have done the best that we can to integrate with Washington’s state system. Cannabis businesses have the right to use the seed-to-sale software of their choosing, and that software should work as promised. We have worked hard to connect with the state system with an effective consistency that customers can count on, but we need the same commitment from the state. This situation is not ideal for our customers, and we will continue to advocate for a resolution. We look forward to the petition’s progress as another tool for making it known that a resolution is needed. If you have any questions regarding our software and services, contact us at 888.932.6537 x2

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