By Rob Meagher
Back in late January 2016, CBE published its first Seed-to-Sale state and local government scorecard to take a look at what appeared to have become a three-horse race based on those up-to-date results. We projected that the competition for local and state government traceability systems (seed-to-sale) and point of sale (POS) software would heat up in 2016 after a very competitive 2015 between BioTrackTHC, Franwell/Metrc™ and MJ Freeway.
As the new year unfolds, it is clear that there is no shortage of anxious and ambitious competitors in this industry segment, and that the industry is far from the three-horse race that CBE claimed. In addition to the unfortunate security breach and hack at MJ Freeway that has caused a mass defection of their POS client base, Washington state has issued a request for information (RFI), as it is looking to update dramatically or replace BioTrackTHC—which has seen nothing but a slew of end-user POS complaints about system problems, and poor customer service and support since being awarded the state’s contract in 2015. WSLCB may have finally gotten fed-up with the problems the system has had since day one.
And, the big boys still haven’t entered the fray; when will Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft or other well-known international software vendors flex their muscles and extensive government relationships and enter the game?
End of 2015 US Seed-to-Sale Contracts Awarded
At the end of 2015, the state traceability scorecard looked like this:
- BiotrakTHC – 5 States (HI, Ill, NM, NY, WA)
- Franwell/Metrc™ – 2 States (CO, OR)
- MJ Freeway – 1 State (NV)
By the end of 2016, Los Angeles-based Kind Financial became the 4th provider to hold a state Seed-to-Sale contract when it won Rhode Island’s medical marijuana request for proposal with its Agrisoft offering in October. Florida/Nashville, Tennessee-based Franwell/Metrc™ division was awarded both the Alaska Recreational and Maryland Medical Marijuana contracts last year.
End of 2016 US Seed-to-Sale Contracts Awarded
The race for the most government contracts has narrowed between Franwell/Metrc™ and BiotrakTHC:
- BiotrakTHC – 5 States (HI, IL, NM, NY, WA)
- Franwell/Metrc™ – 4 States (AK, CO, MD, OR )
- MJ Freeway – 1 State (NV)
- Kind Agrisoft – 1 State (RI)
Outlook for 2017 US Seed-to-Sale Contracts
This year, expect to see several additional contracts issued with Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Holy Grail, California—all reviewing applications from recent RFPs. There are potentially several other local California jurisdictions looking for a traceability solution.
Humboldt County launched a medical marijuana track and trace pilot program this past summer that differs from the above seed-to-sale systems used in other states, by monitoring products on a batch and a lot basis. Their test partner, SICPA, is a global leader in security solutions that partners with local governments to provide secure tracking and tracing solutions. According to their website, this includes comprehensive government oversight of tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and now medical cannabis in order to promote public health, address public safety concerns, safeguard proof of origin and ensure appropriate tax revenue collection (where applicable).
SICPA is working with the county on a pro bono basis to develop the tracking and tracing program, which projects yields from predominantly outdoor grows. Without the strict tracing requirements utilized by other states, and the manual inspection process the county officials are saying will balance the books between projected and actual yields, it strikes CBE that Humboldt County officials have been breathing too much of the local air for too long and is setting itself up for excessive diversion and potential federal issues down the road.
In addition to the companies that have landed on the traceability system scorecard, all of whom provide POS solutions, with the exception of Franwell/Metrc™, there are many other POS providers that are actively competing for a piece of the producer, processor and retailer revenue pool. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Metrc™ have approved several software solution providers whose products are compatible for integration with the Oregon Recreational Marijuana Program Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) including Leaf Logix Technology, OMMPOS of Astoria, Oregon; Flowhub of Denver, Colorado; Greenbits of Portland, OR; Odava of Portland, OR; Adilas of Salida, CO; WeedTraQR of Seattle, Washington; and BioTrackTHC. For a comprehensive list of POS solution providers, check out the CBE Business Directory.