BioTrackTHC President and CEO Patrick Vo Opens Up About Seed-To-Sale Tracking in the Cannabis Industry
The slow but steady legalization of cannabis throughout the U.S. has certainly opened many doors for entrepreneurs eager to enter a booming industry. However, along with this opportunity has come the need for regulation, something companies such as BioTrackTHC are looking to innovate. Based in Fort Lauderdale, BioTrackTHC’s seed-to-sale software tracking technology looks to help businesses remain compliant with tracking and reporting requirements in each state throughout the U.S. In this exclusive interview with BioTrackTHC President and CEO Patrick Vo, we discuss how his company stands out among competitors, the process of keeping cannabis away from the black market, and the integration of blockchain in seed-to-sale tracking.
Cannabis & Tech Today: What makes BioTrackTHC unique among seed-to-sale tracking systems?
Patrick Vo: Well, there are a lot of things that make BioTrack unique. I could go on forever. One of the key things is that we were one of the first. Ourselves and one other seed-to-sale software company were the first two to deploy an end-to-end, seed-to-sale tracking system for cannabis. We co-launched and started the space with them.
And, both in the tech space and in the cannabis space, eight years is a long time. Since then, a number of new software companies have come into play … We have both breadth and depth of experience in what we do best, which is the actual tracking of the cannabis plants and products through the entire supply chain.
C&T Today: How does seed-to-sale tracking keep marijuana from entering the black market?
Patrick Vo: Seed-to-sale tracking is just like tracking in any other supply chain. However, cannabis tracking is very unique. It’s not strictly agricultural tracking, and it’s not strictly pharmaceutical tracking. It’s kind of got this mix of different product types and different supply chains, and so that creates a very unique scenario in terms of what types of tools and types of data points are necessary in order to track the product.
Now, specifically with respects to tracking cannabis, what’s important is to make sure that regulated product does not find its way to the black market, and, similarly, that black market product doesn’t find its way into the regulated supply chain. Both of those are very critical, and the end goal of seed-to-sale tracking is visibility, transparency, and, through that transparency, accountability.
If I report to the CEO of the cultivation center or if the business itself reports to the Department of Health or the Department of Agriculture, “Hey, we have 500 plants in production, right? If there are 700 plants on the floor, why are the other 200 plants not registered? If there are 350 plants on the floor, where do the other 150 go?” The entire point of seed-to-sale tracking is the accuracy component. We make sure everything is accounted for and that the information the business owners and regulators have is both accurate and complete. There should be nothing missing and nothing is there that shouldn’t be.
C&T Today: Do you believe seed-to-sale tracking systems like BioTrackTHC could help create cohesiveness in the industry?
Patrick Vo: Seed-to-sale systems play a very critical role. It’s not the only thing that’s important, but it absolutely plays a part, particularly in regard to what data is exchanged between businesses and what data can be exchanged across borders. And so that technology component plays a role. This is something that we’ve really tried to keep in focus as the industry continues to propel forward. Politically, the landscape from a mainstream perception has dramatically changed over the last decade in the sense that there aren’t too many ultra-strong, very vocal prohibitionists at the moment.
There are maybe disagreements in terms of how things should operate, but, compared to where we were eight years ago, definitely the pendulum has swung pro-cannabis. But, whether you’re for or against cannabis, seed-to-sale tracking, the accountability allows the industry to basically say, “Hey, for this product, this supply chain, there are as few leaks as possible.” It’s legitimate and we’re able to play a role in unifying how things operate both from a supply chain perspective and from a data perspective across the country.
And, if we’re able to bring that consistency through all the businesses and through the regulatory landscape, that’s one critical component that will assist in unifying the entire industry as a whole from coast to coast.
C&T Today: Do you see blockchain having any place in seed-to-sale tracking?
Patrick Vo: Blockchain is a very charged word right now. Blockchain can have value, but there was a time when it was such a buzzword that people were throwing it around without really seeing if there was truly value to be had there. So, I’m not going to sit here and say that blockchain is going to solve a bunch of problems in cannabis. But, I’m also not going to completely toss it out and say, because of the recent spat of people taking advantage of the blockchain concept without any actual substance, that it won’t provide value. It’s still a little early to tell, just to be honest.
Anybody who says that they’ve got the solution one way or the other is probably not being entirely honest. We have yet to see. We’re all, I’m sure, looking into how either blockchain technology or at least the concepts that underpin blockchain could be applied to the cannabis supply chain and cannabis data industries to see how it could add value, how
it could add security, how it could add reliability to the data. So, we’re looking into that and hopefully the value that it provides is cost effectiveness. Hopefully, we’ll be able to connect some dots here in the next couple of years.
Feature image courtesy of BioTrackTHC