California chooses to keep marijuana track-and-trace data secret
As part of its legalization program, the state of California is developing a “track-and-trace” system (CCTT) designed to help the state keep an eye on where cannabis is being grown, shipped, and sold within the state. The cannabis industry essentially signs up for a license for production or retail, and then can print unique identifier tags so the state can know where products came from and how they moved around the state. Unfortunately, while having access to even a bit of that information would be very helpful for the entire industry (people could see where supply and demand were showing up, and get an idea of the size of the market), most of the information that comes from the system will be kept secret, according to administrators.
That’s too bad! Obviously you wouldn’t want full public access to the system (both for privacy’s sake, and to keep competitors from gaining a knowledge advantage — though if everyone had the information, that wouldn’t be a concern, right?), but this is a government agency we’re talking about. The system itself is being designed and run by a company in Florida named Franwell, and a lack of public transparency, even for high level information from the system, is a bit worrying.
Fortunately, the California Department of Food and Agriculture does say that it plans to release an end-of-year report with some aggregate data included. So while information from the system likely won’t be freely available right away, we may be able to get some information from the agency by the end of the year about where cannabis is coming from and going to in California, and exactly how big the industry actually is. Prices are extremely high in CA right now thanks to high taxes and relatively low supply, so the more information we can get about what’s driving those prices and how they can be more reasonable, the better.