IBM: Blockchain May End Up Tracking Cannabis Sales in Canada

Technology giant IBM has pitched for the use of their blockchain technology to track the legal distribution of cannabis in British Columbia.

According to a document, IBM is attempting to convince the British Columbia government on the benefits that the use of the technology can bring. The document comes at a time when authorities in Canada’s westernmost province are preparing its regulatory framework in support of the legal distribution of cannabis and cannabis by-products.

“IBM suggests blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control – from seed to sale,” IBM writes.

IBM highlights that the blockchain is a ‘highly effective trust mechanism’ while stating its key attributes: it’s distributed, immutable and transparent.

Around the world, there are numerous use cases which are exploring how the blockchain can be employed to improve the services of various industries. These include finance, humanitarian, healthcare and education to name but a few. IBM believes that the technology can also be applied to the distribution of cannabis.

“Its relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chain of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains,” IBM adds. “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.”

IBM states that the blockchain could prove beneficial to the British Columbia government, enabling them to ‘take control of sourcing, selling and pricing of products,’ helping them to ‘reduce or eliminate black market sales completely.’

IBM’s involvement with the distributed ledger is continuing to grow, this being its latest endeavour. In October, the computing giant announced that it was teaming up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to deliver a new blockchain-based global banking solution. The aim is to reduce transaction costs and increase cross-border payments for businesses and consumers.

In July, IBM unveiled IBM Z, a new data encryption system designed to combat data breaches. According to a report, 2016 saw over four billion data records compromised, a 556 percent from 2015. Not only that, but of the nine billion records lost or stolen from the last five years, only four percent were encrypted. IBM have brought IBM Z onto the IBM Cloud as an encryption engine for cloud services and to run IBM blockchain services. According to the company, IBM Z was created to become ‘the platform of choice for blockchain.’

In further attempts to bring blockchain technology to the mainstream, IBM revealed in August that it had signed a blockchain shipping and supply chain Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pacific International Lines and the Port Authority of Singapore (PSA). The aim is to explore and trial proof of concept (POC) blockchain-based supply chain business network innovations.

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