Cannabis Technology Communications Standards

For the last two weeks the cannabis industry in Washington State has been nearly shut down. The state deployed MJ Freeway/LeafData (“MJF/LD”) on Feb 1st (it was delayed from Nov 1st, 2017) and it’s been a dumpster-fire since then.

The largest issue is that Supply-Side-Business-A cannot send materials to Retail-Side-Business-B. We’re all dependant on this centralized system (MJF/LD) to communicating data from one business to another. Complex data, regulated data, must be accurate – otherwise, hand entry and verification of 100s of attributes.

Using Peer to Peer Technology

The last few weeks have, if nothing else, demonstrated that the regulatory agencies and their selected vendors to not care at all about the livelihood of our businesses.
Completely disregarding the impact their new implementation would have on the $500k per day our industry contributes to the Washington State tax revenues.
They ignored the many warnings presented to them by industry associations, individual licensed operators and software service providers.

We need to bring some semblance of reliability and stability to our industry and to our own individual businesses.
I believe the way forward is through a decentralized, peer-to-peer communications protocol between the software providers and their respective customers.
When the software communicates it makes it easier for the businesses to communicate – by which I mean transact business.

We have a dozen software providers in this state, there are like two dozen more if we factor in all the other states.
The common problem is that all these softwares talk to each other through a central regulatory engine, many times this engine does not accomplish the goals of the software-service, which are goals outlined by our paying customers – YOU.
A peer-to-peer network enables the software to bring about your business needs with more efficiency and more reliability.

For many months we have been working to bring the software providers together around some standards.
Multiple one-on-one meetings, phone calls, emails and one large group meeting have shown that nearly all of the providers agree this (or something like this) is the way forward. To that end we have posted some data-model specifications[1], protocol specifications and reference implementation[2] to a public repository for comment, inspection and usage by all other software vendors.
This is a system we (software providers) could all begin implementing today.

Peer-to-Peer creates an environment where systems can communicate through a trusted secure channel, that is SoftwareA and SoftwareB establish their own trust. And the combination of SoftwareA+LicenseC and SoftwareB+LicenseD are their own trust channel – not just software trusting software but one business trusting another.
Once the trust level is established the necessary data can flow freely – between businesses (via software) – sharing the necessary details with each other.
Imagine never having to re-key data because it was transmitted seamlessly.
Imagine being able to transmit, regardless of the status of LeafData (or whatever vendor comes next) the product details, order details and other necessary data.
What would you when things are working better? How would you grow your business if you weren’t wasting so much time?

The regulatory agencies don’t care, their selected vendor is struggling – and so are ALL OF US. We need more reliability and stability to operate our respective businesses successfully. A decentralized, distributed, peer-to-peer software solution designed, implemented and managed by ALL OF US would create that environment for us. The beta version of this system is ready to go, some software vendors appear to be on-board.

Let’s do this thing.

[1] https://github.com/openthc/api [2] https://github.com/openthc/p2p

Originally drafted as newsletter article for TCA (rejected), subsequently posted to: https://groups.google.com/d/topic/502cannabis/teDDlYExnr4/discussion