In an effort to improve strain identification and transparency in the Jamaican cannabis industry, a new blockchain startup is attempting to digitize the entire process via distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The Canadian company, BLOCKStrain Technology Corp, has identified a need amongst the medical marijuana community to get reliable data on various weed strains. Without consistent quality control and identifiable strain information, patients may not receive the correct treatment. While most medical marijuana stores correctly name their weed, strains can differ vastly between two stores.
Due to various factors, including soil composition and light conditions, studies show that a specific strain can have significant chemical differences when grown in different parts of the world. For this reason, strain names alone are not a reliable indicator of marijuana quality and could have negative effects for consumers.
How blockchain can help
BLOCKStrain attempts to address this issue through genetic identification processes, garnering information that will be stored on an easily accessible and secure blockchain platform. CEO of BLOCKStrain, Robert Galarza, says this chemical profile will provide “better information for cultivators and consumers.”
His company’s efforts will provide a platform that not only offers the genetic information of marijuana strains but also data from quality control tests and cultivation processes. By hosting the data on a blockchain-based platform, it will be accessible to all customers while remaining immune to corruption or alteration.
Growers or breeders that want to join the platform and support transparency in the marijuana industry can easily sign-up and upload their inventory to the ledger. Genetic testing and chemical profiling will also need to be completed and the test results submitted. This process gives breeders a certain degree of intellectual property protection due to the secure and immutable nature of blockchain technology. The system will also use artificial intelligence (AI) to help put breeders of similar genetic strains in contact with one another and further grow the medical marijuana community.
Company founders Galarza and Tommy Stephenson plan to visit Jamaica this month to meet stakeholders and explore how BLOCKStrain’s technology can be integrated into the local cannabis industry. With the global marijuana market growing exponentially in recent months, regulatory bodies are tightening restrictions regarding it. BLOCKStrain’s data bank will help to provide information that can identify illegal strains or low-quality products.
“We can provide regulators with real-time visibility over the quality of the products in their jurisdiction, as well as a tool to distinguish between legal and illegal cannabis,” explains Galarza.
The company recently received Depository Trust Company (DTC) full-service eligibility in the United States, allowing it to distribute and settle BLOCKStrain shares through DTC’s automated processes. This provides cost benefits and often results in higher trading volumes of company stocks.