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November 7, 2017

IBM has high hopes for blockchain and marijuana

Blockchain could help cannabis 'from seed to sale', according to IBM proposal.

By Tom Ball

IBM has been a driving force in the development of blockchain, working on an array of different use cases, but none stand out quite like its latest proposed idea – the legal selling of marijuana.

This potential blockchain use case has been suggested by IBM as Canada mulls a major review of legislation regarding the legal use of marijuana.

The government of British Columbia is already engaged in proceedings regarding the legality of the drug, and it could become legal in the summer of 2018.

In a four-page proposal submitted to British Columbia’s provincial government, Big Blue pitched blockchain as a viable solution to the estimated billion-dollar legal cannabis market.

“Blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control – from seed to sale… Blockchain is a highly effective trust mechanism which uses a cryptographically-secure shared ledger to irrefutably track complex transactions amongst many known parties,” IBM said in the proposal.JPMorgan taps blockchain for new payments network

Blockchain, as IBM proposes, could help the British Columbia government track and maintain pricing, selling, sourcing and distribution of marijuana. The benefits could also extend to retailers and those who grow the drug, with the former being able to gather insights and introduce better business strategies and the latter being able to take control of inventory.

There can be no doubt that IBM is serious about this proposition, as the tech giant is a frontrunner in the emerging world of blockchain. Working towards taking the technology from a nascent status and toward widespread uptake, IBM has been working on blockchain plans for international payments, logistics and SMEs to name a few, also providing an accelerator platform for smaller businesses.

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