An assessment report released by Gartner Consulting recently has found that Washington State rushed to implement a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system even though the regulator and the system provider knew that the tracking system was flawed.
That rushed implementation cost retailers revenue since many dispensaries were unwilling to buy marijuana from those retailers whose systems hadn’t been integrated with Leaf Date Systems (the tracking platform created by MJ Freeway).
Gartner Consulting is an independent technology and research firm based in Connecticut. Washington State LCB (Liquor and Cannabis Board) contracted Gartner Consulting to assess the tracking system over a period of eight weeks.
The consulting firm noted that the tracking system was unstable and crashed several times during the assessment period.
Gartner Consulting placed the blame for these technical glitches on both LCB and MJ Freeway.
LCB is blamed for making a decision to go live with a system that was flawed and could not pass numerous basic tests for such platforms. The regulator should never have allowed an immature system to be commissioned since that put the entire marijuana value chain tracking system at the risk of a total collapse when so much was at stake.
The consultant also pointed out several issues which put LCB and the developer on the spot. For example, the deployment schedule followed was labeled “impossible” by Gartner Consulting since such projects usually take at least a year to develop and deploy. MJ Freeway should have known better and demanded a reasonable timeframe within which to design a defect-free platform.
The assessment also concluded that the platform designer and the regulator underestimated what would be required to customize the platform for Washington State.
A more stinging criticism for MJ Freeway was that the methods upon which the entire system was developed and implemented didn’t adhere to industry best practices. Consequently, the system raises persistent security concerns.
Gartner Consulting went on to propose ten steps through which the tracking system can be salvaged and improved. For example, the consultant recommends that Washington State hires an experienced firm to provide software integration so that the system can work seamlessly with the software used by other marijuana industry players.
Alternatively, the state could take the radical decision to cancel the project and implement a new one.
Jessica Billingsley, the CEO of MJ Freeway, admitted that though they deployed the system in record time, it had some technical issues which are being addressed to improve it. The company has been taking steps to address all the concerns raised in the Gartner report. TransCanna and VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) must be hoping that they never be at the receiving end of such harsh criticism of their products and services.
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