Tracking Recreational Marijuana Inventory from Seed to Sale is very close to being a real situation in multiple states, it's four as of this writing and many more are talking about relaxing their laws around medical use and even starting conversations about recreational use.
“Traceability” is a fancy word for inventory management, tracking and auditing. For marijuana this means:
Colorado and Washington have a system like this implemented; Alaska and Oregon are in the process.
In Colorado the State is responsible for the entire system and dictates to the marijuana producers, processors, distributors and retailers what system they must use.
In Washington our government had BioTrackTHC build an API for this system – this is awesome. This API allows multiple software vendors to create better tools on top of the system the state needs for regulatory compliance. Forgive the fact that the API is poorly designed and is full of inconsistencies – Washington is the first state doing it!
In Oregon they are also looking at building a state-run web application (basically, a clone of WeedTraQR). Lets hope Oregon stops that foolishness and goes the API route.
See, Traceability for the State is just about data. The State should not be in the business of creating web-applications. Simply look at the awesome job done on the web-applications for the Departments of Revenue, or Licensing or Employment Security. They are all a nightmare. But the API! If a State makes an API to their systems that is perfect! APIs can be less that awesome – as long as they have the right data. Then we can let the free-market build on this APIs to provide tools for the businesses.
Marijuana Traceability is simply about recording details of the process of production, refinement and final sale of a specific type of product. All players in this space are required to report to a centralized authority about their business activity. It's like taxes: record some data then tell the state.
Traceability is important for such a dangerous product. Marijuana kill zero thousand people in 2013!! Naturally we need to control it more than guns which were used in 11,000 homicides in 2013.