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Is Blockchain the Future of Pot Regulation?

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 09, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The marijuana industry, despite the federal taboo and legal challenges, is booming. The law firms and other ancillary industries that cater to the marijuana industry are seeing massive growth alongside the pot boom as well.

However, one of the big challenges faced by both businesses and the states is the regulation of the industry. From monitoring sources to recording transactions, due to the highly regulated nature of the industry, marijuana businesses will likely need to rely on technology to ensure they keep on the legal side of the marijuana regulations. And, like most highly regulated industries, pot regulation could potentially benefit from the use of blockchain.

Budding Blockchain

Blockchain technology may be a few years old at this point, but it is still finding new applications and industries to disrupt. Notably though, the pot blockchain is not the same blockchain that you may already be familiar with that records Bitcoin transactions.

Rather, IBM has created a sort of private Blockchain for the marijuana industry, or other industries, to use (Walmart now uses it). Unlike the distributed ledge feature of the original blockchain, IBM's pot-blockchain would rely on those in the industry. Rather than being public, it would only be accessible to regulators and businesses. In addition to transaction histories between suppliers, distributors, producers, merchants, and potentially even consumers, important data could be stored on the chain to help in case of a recall, or other similar situation where batches, lots, or transactions need to be traced.

Consumers Benefit From a Blockchain Supply Chain

As IBM has explained, consumers and pretty much everyone in the industry, benefits from using blockchain to monitor supply chains. Using blockchain forces every part of an industry, from producer/maker to distributor and seller to operate at a certain level of transparency. Transparency is good for maintaining stable markets, preventing fraud, as well as ensuring the health and safety of consumers.

Pot Lawyers: Get to Know Blockchain

If your practice advises marijuana business clients, you might want to seriously consider getting a solid background in blockchain technology and learning what new tech is out there. Even if blockchain isn't utilized in U.S. states for regulatory purposes, individual businesses might be able to use the tech themselves to simplify reporting duties and improve their supply chain.

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