Taking a Security-First Approach with Data in Cannabis

By Dr. Moe Afaneh, COO of BioTrackTHC

When it comes to running a licensed cannabis business, data security may or may not be a top priority among all of the different things licensees need to consider. But when it comes down to it, securing your data is arguably your biggest priority next to selling products. So what exactly makes data security so important in the cannabis industry?

HIPAA Compliance

Cannabis businesses are not currently covered by HIPAA because it’s a federally operated program and cannabis is still a federally illegal, Class I substance. However, you’re still collecting information for medical patients. When the day comes that cannabis businesses are covered by HIPAA, you’ll want to be well ahead of that change. Data security as it relates to HIPAA and patient privacy should not be underestimated. Any compromise of patient information, whether you’re covered by HIPAA or not, can do irreparable damage to your business and brand.

Collecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

In 2018, it seems like the media is a revolving door of stories surrounding major corporate data breaches where customer information and financial info is put at risk. With hackers continuing to get smarter, it’s crucial to have a technology solution that invests in sound security infrastructure. In most states, if you experience a data breach of a specified magnitude, you’ll be legally required to notify all affected parties, which will devastate your brand and any loyalty that customer’s had for your business.

Data is the Key to Your Future

In a new and burgeoning industry, everyone is looking for an added edge. If I’m launching a new cannabis business and have the opportunity to examine an established business’ trends and inventory data, I essentially give my business a huge head start because I can sift through some of the learning curve that they already experienced. Your seed-to-sale cannabis software data holds the key to your future, so you don’t want to give out a spare key.

Cannabis businesses are literally gold miners in the sense that their software data will define the future of this industry and their success. There is an enormous incentive for hackers to target our young and immature industry, which is why the last thing you want to do is make it easy for them. Data security experts have specifically covered why the cannabis industry is so appealing to data thieves.

First, there is obvious value in data and the financial gains that come with it. Additionally, we’re a growing industry where many businesses have not yet significantly invested in technology infrastructure and security, providing a low barrier to entry. For a dispensary, a data breach or hack can be the end of your business, so it’s worth investing in proper technology and data security to protect your future.


  • Cannabis & Tech Today is the premier publication for inspiring business profiles, exclusive interviews with thought leaders in the field, science innovations, and insights on new legislation and growth in the cannabis market.

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