TruTrace Technologies (TTT.C) brings IP protection to a vulnerable cannabis industry

Earlier this month, Deloitte and TruTrace Technologies (TTT.C) (formerly Blockstrain) signed an agreement to deliver blockchain product-traceability to the cannabis industry.

What’s even more important is, unlike DMG’s Blockchain’s latest product rollout, TruTrace isn’t offering a one-size-fits-all blockchain solution for all that ails the cannabis industry. Instead, they’re offering product-traceability solutions, which means that clients will be able to build trusted brands, and ensure that medical and recreational distributors, and retails all receive accurate shipments.

“It is essential for companies bringing emerging technology to market to find the best partners to grow with, and we are very excited about our alliance with one of the most respected names in global business. By working together to rapidly scale the adoption and implementation of our technology, we are confident that we can bring a greater level of traceability and trust to this evolving industry,” says Robert Galarza, chief executive officer of Trutrace.

Strain security is all about making sure that the product you’re buying on the shelves is what it says it is, and comes from where it says it comes from. Right now, we don’t have that. We lack a database, federal or otherwise, documenting each strain of cannabis and there’s nothing stopping a dispensary from repackaging old ditchweed they grow in the alley as Purple Kush.

It’s definitely an issue, according to a University of Colorado study performed last year. Researchers bought 30 cannabis strains from dispensaries and compared them.

“It’s not necessarily that somebody is doing anything malicious. But because there are so many strains, it starts to get really hard to correctly identify plants based on their morphological characteristics,” said geneticist Anna Schwabe.

That’s something TruTrace’s StrainSecure system aims to change. The TruTrace team collects plant-testing data and performs verification procedures at the genomic level. The information is entered into a blockchain-enabled database, and because of the immutability feature, it tracks accurately back through the supply chain, from seed to sale, ensuring the strain IP is protected. The customer is happy because he’s getting the good shit, the dispensary is happy because they’re going to have a repeat customer, all the way back to the patent holder, whose regular checks get fatter.

“This technology builds trust in the cannabis industry, not only between producers and retailers but also between retailers and consumers. We’re pleased to be able to play an integral role in helping all stakeholders in the cannabis space increase business performance and reputation while keeping consumers safe,” says David Stewart, a partner in Deloitte Canada’s Forensics practice.

When is this starting?

It’s already started, and has already drawn some big name attention.

A number of licensed producers (LPs) are now participating in the pilot program, including: Aphria (APH.T), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.T), Tilray Canada (TLRY.Q), Harvest One Cannabis  (HVT.V) subsidiary, United Greeneries, WeedMD (WMD.V) and Zenabis Global (ZENA.T).

Shoppers Drug Mart announced a medical cannabis verification program using StrainSecure in June to increase transparency, interoperability, and product identification within the industry.

“The launch of the Shoppers Drug Mart pilot program for medical cannabis verification was a very significant milestone for us in the first quarter. This has provided us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of our technology to several of Canada’s leading licensed producers and other key industry participants. We intend on becoming an indispensable part of the solution to bring the highest standards of transparency and accountability to the cannabis sector,” said Galarza. 

The pilot project will use StrainSecure for identity management, asset tracking, validation and product authentication, and also as a master registry for standardized testing, product verification and quality assurance.

—Joseph Morton

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