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Expert: The Cannabis Rush in California may Also Rush in New Sets of Problems for Dispensaries

Can Blockchain Technology Thwart Efforts from Organized Crime?

Andrew Richards, Spire Secure Logistics


January 4, 2018 ( Newswire) The gold rush of cannabis in California is off to a roaring start but with the glee and celebration, the rollout is not going smoothly everywhere. It may be months before the digital system designed to track and regulate sales is fully operational, and the drug is still only being sold for medical purposes in some large cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The digital system the state is using to regulate and track recreational marijuana sales just launched, and businesses have to be trained to input data before the state can make it mandatory, which could take months. Businesses are being asked to manually file invoices, which experts say is not only complicated but also risks marijuana sales slipping into the black market.

According to cannabis security expert, Andrew Richards from Spire Secure Logistics, moving from a black/grey cannabis environment into a legal recreational environment requires fail-safe, air-tight systems and processes to be effective. These systems and processes need to be tried and tested, in advance. If not, the black market and organized crime can and will continue to be able to operate in the space.

He believes organized crime looks for weak and vulnerable targets and will try and exploit them when identified breakdowns in the technological systems represent such vulnerabilities (beyond the already pre-existing human vulnerabilities the technology is designed to address!) and provide opportunities.

New Role for Blockchains

Richards states that there is ample blockchain technology available to prevent these sorts of missteps and is working with a number of companies to implement these systems into North American cannabis markets. “We worry about the upcoming legalization in Canada and governments' (Federal and Provincial) abilities to implement these air-tight seed-to-sale tracking systems - this is not rocket science, it's basic systems thinking - when one interdependent sub-system in a much larger system breaks down, the entire system ceases to function in support of the over-arching aim - in this case, protecting the stakeholders in the legal adult recreational cannabis system from black market and organized crime interference,” says Richards.

About Andy Richards:

Andy Richards spent thirty-four years in Canadian policing, retiring in 2015 as a Deputy Chief Constable. He specialized as an investigator, supervisor, and manager of complex covert investigations. He led many of the largest, most successful and highest-profile organized crime investigations in British Columbia, often targeting organized crime groups and prolific offenders who controlled or targeted elements of the illegal, grey, and legal medical marijuana industries. He is a court-recognized expert regarding the Hell's Angels. As Deputy Chief and member of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police, he was involved in the dialogue with Health Canada regarding marijuana regulations.

About Spire Secure Logistics:

Spire is a security and intelligence company with expertise in law enforcement training, high-risk mining security, and the cannabis sector. With services including compliance, information technology, buildout design and security program implementation, Spire aims to be the global leader in designing security programs and solutions for the legal cannabis sector.

Media Contact:

Janet Vasquez/JVPRNY 212-645-5498

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