IBM touts blockchain to track pot industry from 'seed to sale'

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IBM Corp., one of the bluest of U.S. blue-chip companies, is touting blockchain as the supply-management tool of choice for an unusual industry — cannabis.

The digital ledger could be used to track pot from “seed to sale,” according to the Armonk, New York-based company, which submitted a paper this month to the government of British Columbia. The Western Canadian province was gathering public feedback on how to regulate the industry ahead of legalization of recreational pot nationally, set for July.

Blockchain could help B.C. take control of sourcing, selling and pricing of products while allowing producers to track inventory, supply and demand projections and consumption trends, IBM said in its paper.

The shared ledger is updated and validated in real time with each network participant and reveals exactly where a product is at any point in time. “This type of transparency would bring a new level of visibility and control to the provincial regulators,” IBM said.

IBM has been promoting blockchain for industries from financial services to consumer retail and cargo shipping in recent years. The company is betting that blockchain will get adopted by its traditional large enterprise clients and can serve as a revenue growth driver in the long-term as legacy sales decline.

“Our submission was in response to a government request," IBM spokeswoman Carrie Bendzsa said in an email.

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