This article originally appeared in HuffPost on 1/2/2018.
Legalized Marijuana was a 6.7 Billion Industry in the US in 2016, according to ArcView, a research leader in the space. Canada officially declared that they would make non-medical use of Marijuana legal, and focus on the production and distribution chain. 29 US states (at press time) have legalized the use of Marijuana, in various forms, either for recreational use or broadly. Marijuana is becoming a widespread legal and tangible asset that will require a method for assured accountability.
What is the fastest growing technology for assured accountability for assets? The blockchain of course.
The reason it's such a perfect match is that there are many facets of plant legalization that require authentication and verification at a highly regulated level. For the flow from the producer to the consumer to remain legal, many checks must be made.
Consider the following elements the decentralized blockchain ledger would provide ideal transparency and security for:
The Crop: The product itself must be quality controlled and regulated. Who is growing it and how are they growing it (what seeds are used), how much was grown and transported from farm to processing plants, or whether or not there was a use of chemicals by performing blockchain ledger recorded tests.
Distribution: From the farms’ processing plants to the retail outlets. And for transparency and accountability, does that match the amount then sold to the consumer? The blockchain can account for all of this openly and securely.
End Consumer Management: Is said consumer allowed to purchase the product, and how much are they allowed to buy in a given period, for example. In theory, an authenticated blockchain ID could be used internationally.
High-Value Transaction Security: The numbers speak for themselves (6.7B Industry). There are high-value transfers of value happening, and clearly, the blockchain works well for this. A traceable, trackable cryptocurrency could provide the trust and accountability the industry desperately needs in order to move with ease financially at a federal level. Currently, the industry is (mostly) in a dangerous all cash scenario that isn’t good for anyone.
**The blockchain is poised to serve current and future Governments, and private businesses, in the production and distribution of Legalized Marijuana. **
A few notable examples of the industry agreeing are the recent ICO crowd-sale of Paragon. They plan to have a mobile wallet released in Q2 of 2018. As far as government adoption, a November proposal from IBM to the Canadian Government puts Big Blue front and center on the idea of blockchain being a solid solution. To me, when IBM proposes a blockchain solution to Canada, it is an amazing sign of the times we are living in regards to the future for legalized Marijuana, and and the validity the blockchain technology will continue to have in society in the years to come.