POLICY: Panel focuses on track and trace

Tracking and tracing commercial cannabis from seed to retail sale received a three-hour examination at a panel discussion organized by State Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma.

A capacity audience at 450 N Street in Sacramento heard a drumbeat of testimony about the necessity of a comprehensive tracking program for California’s new marijuana regulations.

“Cannabis sales are real, whether you oppose it or don’t know; it’s a reality in a lot of places,” John Hudak, a researcher with the Bookings Institution, said. “You should hope that the governmental regulators get it right.”

Vendors from the cannabis product tracking industry explained how their technology allows state and local regulators and law enforcement officials to follow cannabis as it moves across the state. Also explained were the public safety benefits knowing exactly where seeds, plants and associated products come from, and their potency.

“If you are against cannabis, at least you can be for transparency and accountability,” Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, which monitors marijuana supply chains from cultivators to dispensaries in several states.

For the first time since voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, California is trying to establish regulatory rules for permits and licenses, cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, delivery and retail sales of cannabis.

The meeting was the third organized by Ma and her staff in hopes of providing information to industry professionals and local regulators across the state.