POLITICO Morning Cannabis: Movers and Shakers

Natalie met up with Lewis Koski of Metrc — which provides track-and-trace services to s

tate governments — at the NCIA conference. Koski was chief of investigations for Colorado's marijuana enforcement division when its legal cannabis market launched. This is an edited excerpt of their conversation.

How has the process of tracking cannabis changed since Colorado first legalized?

Koski : At that time, we were still trying to figure out how we were going to add tests and results and things like that. So what the system was in 2014 [and] what it is now is an altogether different, different piece of technology. There's been a lot more policy that's been added in. You've got delivery, for example, it's been added, and we've got donations that's been added into the system.

We're really starting to see strong signs that not only can we regulate cannabis well, but we could actually start to leapfrog other industries in terms of how cannabis is regulated. We might see in the next five to 10 years how cannabis becomes a use case for more efficiently monitoring products like lettuce or vaccines.

Can you give me an example of how that might work?

Koski: If you had an infused candy bar, and the wrapper has a unique identifier for the concentrate batch or the batch of edible, you can trace it back and identify every single plant that was used in making that bar. That could be literally hundreds of plants in the candy bar.

Vaping products are a really good example. Here in Massachusetts, they used our system [when the state instituted a vaping product ban]. Within a 48-hour period of time, we were able to help them identify all of their products that were vaping products that might be subject to the ban.

You could pretty much pick any regulated industry, and it's not tracked like cannabis is in Metrc. Romaine lettuce is a really good example. Every time you eat romaine lettuce , you're probably wondering if that's going to be subject to recall. It's a regulated product, but it's not tracked in the same way cannabis product is in legalized states.

Originally published in POLITICO Morning Cannabis on February 21, 2020.