Since the legalization of recreational marijuana, many people are trying to learn more about the industry and how it works. In this healthcare blog, we will discuss the most relevant aspects of the industry. We will focus on the technology behind the sector, the marijuana industry and the benefits of blockchain technology.
The cannabis industry is booming, with new businesses opening, new entrepreneurs hoping to make a profit, and new regulations. For those involved in the industry, such as those in the pot growing and selling industries, this new business climate is causing new issues. What will the future hold for the cannabis industry?
As the global cannabis industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, there is a growing demand for transparency in all cultivation and distribution processes – full observability from seed to sale. Several startups around the world are addressing this need by offering blockchain-based solutions for cannabis businesses.
In recent years, blockchain has been touted as an innovative new technology that has the potential to disrupt a number of industries, including. B. Music and streaming, education, financial institutions and payments, healthcare, cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity. Although blockchain is still on the verge of becoming the next big thing, it can be compared to how the internet slowly entered our lives and eventually underwent a rapid evolution that transformed modern society. The cannabis market seems to be taking root in the same way, very slowly at first, but now it is a global phenomenon that is unstoppable, regardless of its legal status. However, unlike other sectors, those working with cannabis face many unique challenges due to changes in legislation, payment systems and supply chains. Blockchain has been hailed as an innovative technology that could revolutionize the way cannabis companies conduct their operations and business. Are you a cannabis lover who wants to learn more about this incredible plant and have access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products? Then sign up for CBD Flowers’ weekly newsletter for the best deals in the industry, or Delta 8’s weekly newsletter for the best deals on Delta 8 THC.
Challenges facing the cannabis industry
36 states already allow the use of cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes, but it remains illegal at the federal level. This means that people in the industry are always faced with unusual obstacles that people in other industries don’t even have to think about: Supply chain issues, payment acceptance, bank and corporate finance, tax structures and ever-changing legislation, to name a few. Let’s start with the supply chain, which is different in the cannabis industry because legal cannabis companies have to compete with the still booming illegal market. Consider California, the world’s largest cannabis market, where black/grey sales often still outnumber legal sales. With business owners struggling with ridiculous regulations and exorbitant permit fees, it’s no wonder unlicensed dispensaries and illegal grow operations are popping up all over the country. Payment systems, banking options and business loans have also been a thorn in the side of cannabis entrepreneurs in recent years. Only recently did legislation allowing banks to work with cannabis companies begin to pass the House and Senate (the latter has yet to be approved), so they’ve operated almost exclusively with cash and savings until now. Lenders have long refused to lend to cannabis businesses, and the few that do, do so at astronomical interest rates and classify them as high-risk loans. High taxes, record keeping problems, cyber attacks, and a lack of insurance and government protection have been problems facing the cannabis industry for years. Tracking cannabis from seed to sale, which is mandatory in all states that have legalized cannabis to some degree, can be difficult if all parties involved in its production and distribution are not fully willing to share information.
What is blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a system for capturing and exchanging information through a digital record of transactions. All information entered is duplicated and distributed across the blockchain’s network of computer systems. Each time a new transaction is made or a new step in the production/distribution process is reached, a record of this is added to the blockchain of each participant. The blockchain uses a decentralized database known as distributed ledger technology (DLT) and is managed and updated by multiple participants. For example, if this technology were used to track the life of a cannabis plant, every person involved in the production cycle would be adding information to the blockchain at every stage – growers, labs, extractors, retailers, etc. Transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash, and anyone using the blockchain has access to these updates. This means that any manipulation of any of the devices in the circuit will be detected immediately. If someone wanted to hack the blockchain, they would have to change every block in the chain, in every registered version of the chain. Blockchains, which are more widely used, are constantly growing and being used by more and more users, making them even harder to corrupt as they become more widespread. People are also attracted to the distributed nature of blockchain governance. Most standard databases, such as. B. a SQL database, with a person or group of persons as the administrator. This could certainly lead to a conflict of interest where these people could crack the books and make changes that give them financial bonuses. There is no one person responsible for the blockchain system, it is managed by the people who use it. The transparency and the fact that blockchain is so changeable makes it an effective disruptor for many industries, including cannabis.
How can blockchain benefit the cannabis industry?
Again, one of the biggest problems with the growing cannabis industry is how legal businesses can win over all the illegal operations. Black market companies often produce counterfeit packaging that looks almost identical to some of the best known brands, and then bypass legitimate distributors by selling products (often of poor quality) at a lower price than those who do follow the rules. This is especially problematic when people use cannabis for medical purposes. Each strain has dozens of different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, and a variety of other minor compounds. Since they can contain a large number of different active ingredients, different strains are used to treat different specific diseases. For example, some people prefer Kush breeds for pain relief, while others prefer Blue Dream for staying awake. But when someone is given mislabeled products, they are essentially wasting money on products that may be completely ineffective or even have an adverse effect on the disease they are supposed to be treating. In the cannabis industry, there is a lot of heavy regulation and a lot of misleading messaging that creates additional challenges for the industry, says Nadav Segal, co-founder of Israeli startup Transparent-C. I meet investors who are funding companies with a five- to 10-year horizon, and when they hear about cannabis, they say it’s too risky for them. We offer a solution that makes the industry more secure by authenticating data about the cannabis delivery process and making it transparent via blockchain technology. We hope that the sector can gain recognition through greater transparency. States and countries that have some form of cannabis legalization program must keep detailed records of regulatory procedures to ensure that products are grown, processed, and tested for safety and efficacy. However, Segal says that tracking the entire path of each plant through the blockchain, where each piece of data can be verified individually, adds a much higher level of trust to the entire process. The identification process of a cannabis plant usually relies on many different external and subjective parameters, such as plant height, leaf colour, stem diameter and measured active ingredients, which can make identification extremely unreliable and lead to misidentification. He added: Our technology gives every buyer a complete picture of the origin of every crop, making it easy for suppliers to avoid unnecessary compliance costs and save money, Segal said. We strive to make the cultivation process completely transparent to regulators, customs officials, doctors and patients, so that they can monitor every link in the supply chain, from seed to finished product. For example, blockchain technology can record product changes in the supply chain (i.e. from planting to harvesting, cutting to packaging and distribution, etc.), allowing companies and consumers to track their products from seed suppliers to distribution points around the world. This can help protect businesses from theft, fraud and other security concerns, and give consumers peace of mind that they know the full lifecycle of their product and that it comes from a trusted source.
What are the risks of public blockchains?
Because blockchain technology is new and decentralized, it can be difficult to integrate it into many work projects. There is also a lack of standardization, as there are so many different frameworks and types of blockchain systems. This is a serious problem for investors who are new to the industry and may not be adequately protected if their investment collapses, and also for the many companies trying to adapt to the new technology. Another problem people face – as with any new technology until all the nuances are worked out – is trust. Yes, it’s true that Blockchain doesn’t have one person responsible for each project and it’s a user-centric system; but someone has to manage and develop the software, right? Software developers/administrators can make important decisions, i.e. they can change the type of cryptography and algorithms used by the blockchain. Again, if there is a conflict of interest, there is a fear that biased algorithms could be implemented, which would jeopardize the whole concept of blockchain security. Another obvious problem with blockchain technology (actually, it’s more of a double-edged sword) is that users are fully responsible for how their accounts are managed. This may not seem like such a bad thing for the ultra-organized, but an example of how quickly this can become a complicated situation is the case with cryptocurrency keys. Many cryptocurrency accounts require a key code (a very long, immutable, and almost impossible to remember series of numbers and letters) to access a digital wallet and other information on the blockchain. If the code is lost, the user loses access to all their credit and data. There’s no recovery option either, so you’re completely screwed. This happened to me with a crypto-currency gift I received at my old job. Fortunately, the currency was not one of the major currencies and the value dropped quickly, so I didn’t lose anything. But imagine losing access to a bitcoin account or important company data. This raises many questions about how to mitigate the risks of user-centric blockchain.
Latest thoughts on blockchain technology in the cannabis industry
Although blockchain technology is new and not yet fully understood, it is on the verge of a breakthrough. Most major industries are already looking for ways to integrate blockchain into their domain. Blockchain can increase trust in products on the market and in the cannabis industry as a whole by providing transparency throughout the plant lifecycle and in the production of different products. Blockchain technology enables cannabis players and consumers to verify plant/product origin, regulatory compliance, transaction information, supply chain orders and more through these innovative, user-centric systems.
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