With CannTrust still struggling to find their footing after last week’s debacle involving product produced in five unlicensed grow rooms being released to market, the situation continues to go from bad to worse. Approximately 5,200 kg of cannabis has since been placed on hold by Health Canada, over 14 class-action lawsuits have been filed by law firms representing claimants in both Canada and the United States, and fears of medical grade cannabis shortages plague patients relying on CannTrust produced product. All of this has culminated in an increasing distrust by both investors and the general public toward the truth and transparency being put forth by cannabis producers.
Where do we go from here?
Robert Galarza, CEO of TruTrace Technologies, believes that the Vancouver-based company which developed the first integrated blockchain platform to register and track intellectual property in the cannabis industry, can offer a step in the right direction.
“What this CannTrust issue brought to light was that there was a tremendous amount of product which made it into the supply chain that was illegal,” says Galarza when asked to comment on recent events.
“We can paint it however we want, but it was still black. it’s still classified as black market cannabis.”
His sentiments on the subject reflect the general discourse surrounding the core concerns facing the cannabis industry right now. These concerns create questions: How could this have been prevented? How do we fix this?
These questions have been asked of Galarza and TruTrace directly.
“We’ve been asked that question a lot; ‘What can you guys do to fix this problem?’ And it’s not really the right question, right? The questions should be, ‘What kind of systems, including ours, could prevent these types of situations from happening? What, as an industry, can we do collectively?’ And all of that starts with better information and better systems,” says Robert, adding, “The problem with a lot of the data that’s getting aggregated by healthcare right now is that it’s all on paper. So how can you spot these kind of issues if everything is indexed in binders and back offices? There’s no realistic audible trail to be able to work with unless you’re using digital information.“
This is what’s at the core of what TruTace is trying to accomplish. By digitally compiling accurate genetic information – accessible to anyone linked into the system – which can pinpoint any plant’s place of origin, a list of all parties involved from development, cultivation, production and distribution from producer to market, consumers can build a trust to strengthen the relationship between themselves and producers.
With all that being said, it’s worth drawing attention to the fact that the industry itself is still in its infancy. We are experiencing a world which accepts the validity of cannabis as a viable and necessary commodity for the first time. Mistakes and missteps can be looked upon as an opportunity to grow and to change the flaws inherent in any burgeoning endeavour.
“The oldest LPs are only five years old,” notes Galarza. “None of these companies have a long standing history or track record to be able to showcase that they’re doing everything the right way, but what we have seen is that there is definitely an intention and a desire to for all of us to raise the bar. We should applaud the LPs that are that are stepping up to the plate.”
Since the events related to the unlicensed CannTrust product were brought to light last week, there have been about a half dozen LPs stepping up to the metaphorical plate. The influx of interest by licensed producers toward what TruTrace is attempting to accomplish by providing accountability and transparency along every step of the journey deserves to be recognized and lauded. Where some may be calling for a witch hunt, attention could and should instead be given to the means in which the cannabis industry is attempting to take these events as a broader lesson; a valuable tool in building and maintaining a solid trust that should and must exist between producers and consumers.
Information pertaining to the fallout created by CannTrust’s breach of trust continues to surface. In the meantime, TruTrace Technologies and reputable licenced cannabis producers are doing everything in their power to provide transparency and preserve the integrity the public expects from all players involved in the pursuit to legalize marijuana across the globe.
Connor is the former Editor-In-Chief for Puff Digital and now a contributor at large. He has been cultivating the written word for over twenty years. His background in music and entertainment landed his band “Boys Night Out” a Juno nomination in 2003, and the group’s 2007 concept album “Trainwreck” went on to garner a great deal of critical acclaim and inspire a theatre production of the same name.