IBM: Blockchain could help run a legal cannabis industry

marijuana cannabis oil

IBM has proposed using its blockchain technology to legally sell marijuana in countries that allow the trading of the substance for medicinal purposes.

It comes as Canada considers legalising the use of the drug, potentially meaning it could be legally sold as early as next year.

IBM's role in the selling of marijuana using its blockchain technology relates directly to British Columbia's proposals and in a four-page document, it outlines how its technology could enable the provincial government to track and maintain pricing, selling, sourcing and distribution of marijuana.

"Blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC (British Columbia) can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control," the company said in the proposals to the province's government.

"Blockchain is a highly effective trust mechanism which uses a cryptographically-secure shared ledger to irrefutably track complex transactions amongst many known parties."

The document adds that using blockchain technologies could help both retailers and producers develop better strategies for marketing and selling their wares, using insights gleaned from the technology. Additionally, cannabis growers can keep on top of their inventory using IBM's technology.

Using the tech means that transactions can take place without the threat of hackers interrupting the supply chain, IBM claimed.

"Blockchain is rapidly becoming a world leading technology enabling the assured exchange of value in both digital and tangible assets, while protecting privacy and eliminating fraud," IBM added.

"Its relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chain of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains. The core to those supply chains is the same, assuring health and safety of consumers, preventing fraud and counterfeiting, while creating a foundation of transparency upon which to base regulation."

Main image credit: Bigstock

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.