CA: Workshop Teaches Cannabis Industry Of New ‘Track And Trace’ System

Photo Credit: Chad Hipolito

About 60 cannabis professionals from around San Diego County attended a workshop Friday to learn more about the state’s “track and trace” system, a key element of California’s plan to legalize the drug.

State regulators have contracted with Franwell, Inc., a Florida-based technology company that makes track-and-trace software, to roll out the new system. Licensed cannabis businesses will soon be required to tag all their plants, flowers and manufactured products with RFID chips to identify the origins of each product.

Scott Denholm is executive director of Franwell’s cannabis software program, branded metrc — Marijuana Enforcement, Tracking, Reporting and Compliance. He told workshop attendees the system is intended to prevent cannabis from disappearing onto the black market, and to protect consumer safety.

“That’s how if somebody’s laying on the floor sick next to a candy bar, we would be able to tell you, ‘Hey, that came out of that production batch, which came out of that harvest, which was made up of those plants,'” he said.

Virginia Bays, who works for the licensed cannabis business Outco in unincorporated El Cajon, said she was attending the workshop to get a better handle of the multitude of regulations covering all aspects of the cannabis industry.

“We are here today trying to get a better understanding of the regulations and what they are going to mean to our business,” she said. “We want to be good citizens in the world of cannabis, and we’re just trying to understand everything the (Bureau of Cannabis Control) has thrown our way.”

All cannabis businesses in California are currently operating with temporary licenses that are good for four months. The track and trace system is expected to be fully up and running once those businesses are allowed to transition to annual licenses, which involve more vetting and scrutiny from state regulators.

San Diego currently has 13 businesses with temporary state licenses to sell both medical and recreational cannabis. Another six businesses are licensed as medical cannabis distributors, about nine are licensed to manufacture cannabis products and two are licensed to test cannabis for safety and potency.