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IBM Canada Says British Columbia Should Move Its Cannabis Logistics to the Blockchain

Reading Time: 2 minutes by on November 8, 2017 Blockchain, News, Tech
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The Canadian subsidiary of tech giant IBM just submitted a proposal to the British Columbia government suggesting that the state’s cannabis industry should secure its logistics via blockchain.

BC Solicits Proposals for Legalization Framework

With the introduction of the Cannabis Act in April 2017, the Government of Canada is aiming to legalize recreational cannabis throughout Canada by July 2018.

In a push to prepare a statewide regulatory framework for upcoming legalization, British Columbia asked for regional stakeholders to submit recommendations for optimizing this process by November 1.

At the closing of the deadline,  more than 130 proposals were received by the BC state government, with IBM Canada’s entry being titled “Blockchain: An Irrefutable Chain of Custody Audit for the Seed to Sale of Cannabis in BC.”

IBM Argues Cannabis Supply Chain Can Be Guaranteed with Blockchain

In their three-page proposal, IBM argued that the distributed, immutable, and transparent nature of blockchain ledgers would make them ideal guarantors and facilitators of the BC cannabis industry’s supply chain.

Indeed, IBM pointed to the tamper-proof nature of blockchains as being capable of giving cannabis growers, distributers, and dispensaries the ability to ensure “consumer safety while exerting regulatory control – from seed to sale.”

The distributed network of a blockchain would allow the BC cannabis industry to guarantee shipments’ quality and prevent theft at all points of the supply chain.

A blockchain ledger’s immutability, too, means that logistical records couldn’t be counterfeited or altered if placed on-chain.

And, most importantly, the transparency of the blockchain means that transactions and records can be audited anywhere, 24/7 and in real-time; an ideal dynamic for complex commercial account purposes.

The BC government will take time to consider all the submitted proposals, so whether or not they accept IBM’s suggestions is still up in the air.

What is clear, though, is that IBM is looking to be a vanguard player in the real-world, commercial implementations of blockchain technology.

IBM’s Increasingly Looking at Logistics on the Blockchain

This isn’t the tech powerhouse’s first foray into the marriage of blockchain and supply chains.

In August, Singapore shipping firm PSA International finalized a deal with IBM to partner together on the creation and implementation of a blockchain supply chain network for the regional port operator.

The project will see IBM implement a blockchain-backed system that will streamline the flow of trading documents between participating shipping partners.

Earlier in the year, IBM netted a deal with Denmark-based Maersk—the world’s largest shipping firm—to test some of the shipping giant’s transactions on Hyperledger’s open-source blockchain platform, of which IBM is one of the main contributors.


This article was updated on November 9.

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