Bloomberg: Pot-Tracking Blockchain System Could Be Used by CVS, Walgreens

TruTrace Featured on Bloomberg: 

Canada’s largest pharmacy chain and the provider of a blockchain program for tracking medical pot believe their partnership will act as a model for U.S. drug stores like CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Shoppers Drug Mart, a unit of Loblaw Cos. with about 1,300 pharmacies across Canada, is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. on a pilot program that will use blockchain to identify, track and verify the source and genetics of cannabis used by medical patients. The goal is to make it more like traditional medicine in order to reassure physicians and patients that pot is a safe treatment, said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers’ vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

 “This is the future for medical cannabis in the world,” Weisbrod said at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, in his first-ever public remarks about Shoppers’ pot business. “I know the U.S. is looking at what we’re doing here, and it’s really important that we take this leadership stance.”

 Los Angeles-based TruTrace sees big opportunities for its track-and-trace software in the U.S. CBD market. The U.S. legalized cannabidiol derived from hemp late last year, but some products have been found to contain less CBD than advertised, or even none at all. CVS and Walgreens, along with other major chains like Kroger Co., have begun selling CBD lotions and balms at some of their stores.

 “We think this push with Shoppers will hopefully lead into a similar relationship with the Walgreens and CVS’s of the world,” TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert Galarza said in an interview at the conference. “There’s skepticism right now from the medical industry and we’re trying to help breach that; it all boils down to information. Information is power, data is power.”…

 

Shoppers Drug Mart Announces Partnership with TruTrace Technologies Inc. to Help Guarantee Product Quality and Genetics From Genome-to-Patient

Shoppers Drug Mart is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. (TTT.V) to bolster its medical cannabis retail platform. The Vancouver-based company’s blockchain-based software is designed to guarantee product quality and genetics throughout supply chain from genome-to-patient.

The pharmacy giant said the move brings medical cannabis closer in line with standards for other drugs in a statement to Yahoo Finance Canada, ahead of the deal’s announcement at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B. on Monday.

“Medical cannabis should have the same levels of traceability and accountability as any other drug therapy in order for patients and prescribers to feel confident about it as a treatment,” said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers Drug Mart’s vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

“When a patient takes any other medication there is an expectation that the medicine is standardized, and they can expect consistent clinical outcomes and results. Although that’s not always a guarantee with medical cannabis at the moment, we’re hoping this new program can help change that.”

TruTrace’s pilot project with the wholly-owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited (L.TO) will allow the company to track real-time data from licensed producers and testing labs, including product genetics, providence, quality and shipment information. The data will be securely added to a blockchain ledger where it can be viewed by Shoppers Drug Mart, and accessed to varying degrees by authorized labs, licensed producers and patients.

The pilot phase, which is expected to last until the end of July, will see the technology applied to a limited number of products for sale on the Shoppers Drug Mart medical cannabis website. The program is expected to ramp up to handle a larger volume of products by November.

TruTrace chief executive officer Robert Galazara said his company was initially met with skepticism by the Shoppers Drug Mart team.

Due to its former name, BLOCKStrain Technology Corp., the company was swept up in investor hype around both cryptocurrency and cannabis. TruTrace ditched that moniker in April to better reflect its focus.

Galazara said he spent nearly a year selling Shoppers Drug Mart on the merits of a secure digital ledger to track cannabis before orders reach distribution warehouses.

“In cannabis, testing and providence has been a big issue. People just don’t know what they are getting,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada in an interview.

He points to recalls issued by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control after a lab was caught falsifying pesticide test reports. TruTrace hopes to one day gather data directly from testing equipment in order to eliminate the risk of human interference.

The company’s StrainSecure software tracks cannabis from genome-to-patient, assuring retailers and end-users that products are authentic by securely adding information to the blockchain at each stage of growth and processing.

“If am regulating a product, and I can’t tell the difference between any of that product, how do I have any chance of having real oversight over who is growing legally, who is buying legally, who is labelling or mislabelling products, and who is actually holding themselves to a higher business standard?”

The company’s existing contract with Shoppers Drug Mart includes a payment of $300,000 for the proof of concept build, plus ongoing service fees.

“We have become such a value proposition for organizations like Shoppers. I don’t really care what you want to call a particular strain. We need to be able to authenticate that when you sell the product six months from now, that a product is the same exact product that you were selling previously,” Galazara said.

“Part of the reason we utilize blockchain is to be able to say that this cannabis was tested on this date. That record exists forever.”

By capturing plant genetics directly from labs, StrainSecure helps licensed producers protect intellectual property and streamline reporting with regulators.

The company expects to work with about a dozen producers in Canada, including several that supply Shoppers Drug Mart with medical cannabis such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO), Tilray Inc. (TLRY), and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO)

For dispensaries and consumers, the platform uses QR codes to instantly deliver a wealth of product information. Shoppers Drug Mart customers will scan codes from the company’s website, and eventually on product packages, if regulations allow it.

 

TruTrace can also mitigate the risk of companies like Shoppers Drug Mart taking delivery of cannabis they cannot sell.

“Shoppers is going to have visibility and verification that a product is exactly what it is supposed to be before it hits their doors,” Galazara said. “Today, if it’s not the right product, or it doesn’t test out the right way, or the COAs (certificate of authenticity) don’t match . . . you are dealing with massive backlogs where you have to destroy product you are now financially responsible for.”

Galazara sees the company as a much-needed conduit for transparency in an industry were all the regulations and procedures are new and largely untested.

Verifiable data will play an important role in keeping cannabis industry players honest, especially in the event companies fall on hard times and attempt to cut corners.

Galazara predicts that risk will be particularly acute in Canada, as competition from the United States intensifies.

“We all know out of all the licensed producers in the marketplace, at least half of them or more are going to be gone in five years,” he said. “What is going to happen when any sort of difficulties fall into play? You are going to see people cutting corners.”

Two Canadian cannabis tech companies partner to streamline the medical cannabis industry

A new partnership has been formed by two Canadian-based tech companies that will bring much-needed accountability within the medical cannabis market. TruTrace Technologies and Toronto-based Strainprint have announced they will start exploring ‘development and integration opportunities’ aimed at bringing transparency and visibility to the legal cannabis industry.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada’s National Cannabis Survey, “About 5.3 million or 18 percent of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported using cannabis in the last three months.” This number represents a 14 percent jump over the previous year, which when legalization was not live. Much of the confusion from Canadians revolves around education within the cannabis space.

TruTrace’s platform is based on blockchain that registers and tracks all cannabis testing data, including strain verification and transparency from licensed producers. Strainprint’s app — which is available on iOS and Android — aims to reduce cannabis stigma as its has created tech that has tracked 60 million data points from 1.2-million medical cannabis outcomes — such as specific strains, crowd-sourced data about THC + CBD levels, terpenes, ingestion methods, efficiency and dose amount history…

CANTECH 2019 – Protecting IP and Genetics From Seed to Sale on the Blockchain

We were honored to be a part of this panel during the Cantech Investment Conference this year.

Robert Galarza, our CEO,  got the opportunity to present BLOCKStrain and explain why genetic verification is important and how testing will bring integrity to the industry.

Find out what the what problems the industry faces now and the solutions that we’ve been working on.

Midas Letter – Cannabis Testing and Tracking Blockchain Platform

CEO Robert Galarza describes his company as “23andMe for the cannabis industry.” 

He emphasizes the importance of product consistency and establishing consistent strain identities, especially in the medical cannabis space. BLOCKStrain’s technology can help LPs achieve product consistency and the company offers value-added services such as providing LPs with genetic data to track plant evolution. By creating a cannabis registry, BLOCKStrain technology helps distinguish legal cannabis from illicit sources. BLOCKStrain generates revenue through its cannabis testing program.

The Next Big Thing for Cannabis

LAS VEGAS, NOV. 13 – Cannabis is now legal from Yukon Territory to Nova Scotia. And, in the United States, 10 states now have legalized recreational adult use and roughly two-thirds of the country has a functional medical marijuana program. Despite this good news, significant work needs to be done to correct some of the biggest gaps in the regulatory system: strain registration, verification and certification.

Now, more than ever, Licensed Producers must protect their intellectual property and build consumer trust. If all the hard work creating unique proprietary strains is not registered and certified, it could be easily co-opted or stolen from competitor or illicit back-channel thieves.

Enter the BLOCKStrain Solution

BLOCKStrain was conceived, developed and designed to ensure the entire cannabis ecosystem – from the genomic scientists’ laboratory to the retail store shelf – operates in a fair and transparent way. If a Licensed Producer spends years to develop a

one-of-a-kind strain, it can easily and seamlessly register, verify and certify the product. And the consumer will benefit knowing exactly what he or she is buying at every purchase.

The time is now to begin the registry process if you want to protect your R&D investments. According to some economic forecasts, the global cannabis industry is projected to be worth roughly $200 billion (yes, with a B) by 2025.

“Companies that secure their intellectual property early will clearly have a distinct competitive advantage,” said BLOCKStrain CEO Robert Galarza. “Not only will the Licensed Producers provide transparency for their customers, they will be able to register the genetic makeup of their product.”

Last month, WeedMD, one of Canada’s premier cannabis brands, employed the BLOCKStrain platform, becoming the first LP to receive Strain Vault status. With BLOCKStrain’s immutable verification technology, WeedMD has officially certified its intellectual property – including the genomics of its Pedro’s Sweet Sativa, one of the most coveted strains in Canada…

Ringing The Bell At The Toronto Stock Exchange

We are honored to have had the opportunity to ring the bell at the Toronto Stock Exchange this morning! We’ve worked hard to get here and make the vision of BLOCKStrain come to life, and just in time as we help ring in a new era for Canada as well.

(TSX-V: DNAX)