California has the potential to be one of the largest cannabis markets in the world but it's also had a reputation for being one of the most lax, but that could change very soon. Within the next month California is supposed to launch a major overhaul of how it tracks cannabis inventory in what's called a "seed-to-sale" system. A cannabis plant will be tagged and tracked from the moment it is planted to the moment it is sold which not only gives the state the security that everything is going where it says it is, but it also allows more data to be collected on where the most cannabis is being grown and sold. The system will also allow for more safety when it comes to testing and recalling batches of cannabis due to the in-depth labelling as well as ensure that no black market grown cannabis is ever being sold by a licensed retailer. While the system is widely praised by advocates there are many with concerns of what exactly is going to change about their business practice with so many details remaining in the air this close to launch.
One reason for tracking plants is to reduce the flow of cannabis to states where marijuana laws are more stringent. The system also can help keep black market weed — which likely hasn’t been taxed or tested for safety — from ending up on shelves at licensed dispensaries.
The digital tracking system also figures to generate important new data about California’s marijuana market, including identifying which parts of the state have the most growers and which have the most consumers. Such information will make it easier for state regulators to halt shipments if a marijuana product is recalled for contamination or any other health reason — something not currently feasible with food, cigarettes or alcohol.