California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, and the state still remains a trendsetter in the cannabis industry nationwide.
In 2017, California's Humboldt County, known for its redwood trees, implemented a track-and-trace program for medical cannabis. This system aims to keep track of how products are moving through the supply chain. The track and trace program also provides detailed data and location information so that the products can be traced back to the place of origin.
Purpose Of the Program
Because legal cannabis is still a relatively new market, great care must be taken by suppliers to ensure that all state and federal regulations are being followed. These regulations include avoiding providing misleading information or advertising the products to children.
Humboldt County's track and trace program incorporates a stamp on each label that allows proof of origin information to be accessible to those within the supply chain. The program also ensures that the medical cannabis products aren't crossing state lines and prevents revenue from supporting criminal activity, according to Humboldt County's government website.
The program also makes sure that growing the cannabis plants takes place on private land.
The stamps that are required in the track and trace program implement security methods that combat counterfeiting. They are integrated with software that provides all the data and information necessary, and they incorporate advanced business intelligence technologies. According to county government, a unique QR code and stamp number provides the following information:
- Size of the product.
- The strain.
- Grower information.
- Other applicable information.
These stamps are applied to the product packaging and the products become instantly traceable. Each entity in the supply chain will then scan the label until a patient buys it. Consumers will also be able to scan the codes on their smartphones to find out valuable information about the product.
An example on the county's website reveals that the stamp itself has a picture of a cannabis plant, a seal reading "County of Humboldt, the Home of the Redwoods," and the unique QR code. The stamps are $0.07 each, and other fees apply for participating suppliers, such as a monthly fee of $90 and a mandatory $400 training fee.
Participants must have a permit from the Humboldt County Department of Agriculture before taking part in the track and trace system.
California's State-Wide Tracking System
The state of California is also preparing its own tracking system for medical cannabis products, Times Standard reported. However, though it was set to start at the beginning of 2019, delays may push the release back to May 2019.
The California Cannabis Portal stated that the system will be used by "all state cannabis licensees, including those with licenses for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, retail, distribution, testing labs, and microbusinesses." It will record all inventory and movement to have a better idea of how the cannabis supply chain is operating, just as the Humboldt County system works.
The Humboldt County program was just extended at the beginning of December 2018, as the Board of Supervisors signed a contract extension with SICPA, Inc., the security company that provides the advanced stamp technology. Officials in the county say that Humboldt County origination is an important designation, which is why they want the name on the labels and their own track and trace program in place.
The medical marijuana and cannabis industries are still fairly new, so requirements for labels are bound to keep coming up. When you need to make an update to comply with regulations, be sure to view our high-quality label printers at Argon Technology's U.S. store or Canada page.