Cannabis is known for a variety of uses, such as recreational, medical, and occupational functions. In 2018, there were about 40.3 million cannabis users in the United States. By 2025, that figure is estimated to reach 46.6 million.
In 2018, recreational marijuana sales in California alone amounted to around $5.5 billion. By 2024, California sales are forecast to reach $7.2 billion. These statistics indicate that the cannabis industry is growing at a steady rate.
For businesses in the cannabis market, keeping up with the competition is essential in surviving the industry.
One way to maintain competitiveness is for these enterprises’ products to have helpful reviews. These cbd reviews may assist individuals and health providers with information on cannabis and cannabis-based products, such as CBD oil.
Companies must keep themselves updated on new developments and processes to remain competitive, such as advancements in technology and data management.
For this purpose, electronic records are essential, from cultivating cannabis in farms to manufacturing and distributing products to sales and even consumption.
This article discusses how various cannabis stakeholders, such as manufacturers, distributors, consumers, physicians, and law enforcement entities, can benefit from electronic records.
Importance of Legalizing Cannabis
Cannabis production and consumption continue to grow and will likely do so for a long time. For this reason, legalizing cannabis is essential, not only for medical purposes but also as a source of income for the different states.
For example, of the 13.5 million pounds of marijuana produced in California in 2016, 11 million left the state, likely sold in places where marijuana is illegal. This situation translates to a loss of potential income for the state.
Legalizing cannabis creates an opportunity to generate income for states and monitor cannabis shipment and distribution through the use of electronic records.
How Electronic Records Can Benefit the Cannabis Industry
Electronic recordkeeping provides several benefits and applications for the cannabis industry and other related entities, including but not limited to the following:
With electronic records, cannabis suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors will be able to track cannabis products.
For example, business owners can identify the farm or grower where a specific strain or product came from using barcodes or quick response (QR) codes.
This tracking method enables businesses to monitor supply chains and make quality checks, especially on farms that supply cannabis products.
One challenge in the retail business is running out of supply due to their failure to keep up with market demand. Electronic records enable business owners to minimize or prevent this incident from occurring.
Electronic recordkeeping helps businesses keep track of their inventories. The capacity to monitor inventory levels ensures that companies are sufficiently stocked with cannabis products and minimize shortages or surplus incidents.
Electronic Medical Records
The approval of Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based medication for epileptic seizures, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. is an excellent start. Soon, cannabis may start to have more applications in the healthcare industry.
This growing interest in cannabis’ medical application may indicate a need to implement additional regulation and monitoring, especially on patients’ electronic medical records (EMR).
One of the latest ways to implement EMRs is through a blockchain system. This method of database recording stores data in “blocks” linked cryptographically, allowing digital information to be recorded and shared but not edited.
When the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted, it removed hemp from the controlled substances list. The law also preserved the FDA’s authority over hemp products.
Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant derivative containing less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cannabis compound known to cause psychoactive effects or a feeling of high.
While this law effectively makes hemp federally legal, marijuana, despite also being a cannabis derivative, is still a controlled substance.
Thus, electronic records are also necessary for law enforcement to monitor the supply, sales, and consumption of cannabis products. These capabilities are essential, mainly if such products are derived from marijuana.
For example, through a patient’s EMR, police can verify if that person is given a prescription of medical cannabis.
This feature does not necessarily mean police can access the patient’s medical records. However, by confirming that the document exists, law enforcement may determine between who are cannabis patients and who are not.
Electronic records are a convenient way to monitor cannabis products and verify medical cannabis use among patients.
However, numerous cyber threats exist today that may lead to unauthorized access to these records and cause various risks, such as identity theft and fraud.
Without sufficient security, these records related to cannabis products or usage may fall into the hands of criminals.
Some ways to secure the database include implementing encryption, strong passwords, and network security like firewalls, antivirus, and anti-malware programs. Implementing a blockchain system also provides another layer of protection.
Additionally, training personnel on cybersecurity is also an essential part of keeping electronic records safe.
Electronic records are essential for supply chain purposes, such as tracking and monitoring cannabis products and minimizing illegal distribution.
However, other helpful applications of electronic recordkeeping include patients’ EMRs and law enforcement, especially on medical cannabis use.
Consult a doctor or healthcare professional and get a diagnosis first if you have a medical condition before using cannabis-based products as an alternative remedy.
For additional information on blockchain or database security, talk to an IT expert or database administrator.