VANCOUVER, Wash. -- You can bet that when marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, the government will do everything it can to track it.
The tax rate in Washington for marijuana sales is about 25-percent. And tracking the marijuana industry is done from “seed to sale.”
The inventory tracking system starts from the moment a marijuana seed is planted in the ground. The tracking continues as the plant matures and goes through various life cycles.
The tracking is also done on the processing level, for those who package the plant for sale. Retailers are regulated, and each sale they make is tracked through a barcode.
For producers, it tracks everything from the moment that seed goes into the ground or the seed itself being brought into the inventory tracking system. Or the cutting of a plant and then as that plant matures and goes through its life cycle it tracks it through that entire life cycle,” said Justin Dufour, the President and CEO of Veridian Sciences.
Veridian is a start-up software company that uses OEM/SAP to track everything from producers, processors, retailers, laboratories and the government.
“When the sale occurs, we do the 25-percent tax that we can send directly to the state if they elect to, and then the next step is for the processors. So that process has the ability to package the goods, be it the flowers to roll the joints and then put the joints into packaging or to create different products such as oil extracted bubble hash or edibles.”
But there appears to be a loophole already in the tracking system. The daily maximum marijuana purchase is limited to one ounce. And there is no system in place by the government to track a person’s daily purchase.
“Right now there’s no tracking that’s in place to stop them from going back into the store an hour later. These guys (store employees) are going to see a tremendous amount of people coming into the stores. It’s going to be hard for them to remember somebody’s face.”
The concern is a potential to stockpile marijuana for resale. An ounce of marijuana in Vancouver will sell for about $240 but in places where marijuana is not legal for recreational use, like on the east coast, an ounce can sell for as much as $700.
Veridian Sciences uses software that accounts for that loophole, tracking individual daily limits through an identification at the purchase point. But the government tracking system does not do that.
Veridian consultant Diego Barriga said social responsibility is crucial to the success of recreational marijuana.
“Somebody could go into a store and purchase it, their entire daily amount [one ounce] and walk across the street at another retailer and purchase their daily amount again. There’s nothing to restrict it,” Barriga explained.
Barriga said the focus at Veridian is about social responsibility and public safety.
Veridian’s software is being used at Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver and will limit the daily maximum purchases. But the government system will not.
“It’s here, and now let’s just be responsible,” said Barriga. And he should know. He’s not a marijuana user and said his focus is on safety and responsibility.
“My mom went to prison for marijuana. I never wanted anything to do with it.”