Pennsylvania awarded a $10 million contract to a software company that offers “seed-to-sale” tracking of medical marijuana.

The Denver-based MJ Freeway’s system tracks the product the time a seed is planted through its processing, sale to a dispensary and distribution to a patient, as well as when a doctor recommends the drug. All of that data will be accessible by the state Department of Health to manage the system and spot any enforcement problems.

For example, MJ Freeway co-founder and CEO Amy Poinsett said a plant and its resulting product’s weight will be monitored at each step to ensure none of it is illegally diverted.

Amy Poinsett, co-founder of MJ Freeway.Provided Photo/Jennifer M Koskinen 

“The idea is that we create that chain of custody so reporting and analysis can give the state the information they need,” said Poinsett, who began the company in 2010 and currently offers a similar system to Nevada.

While it bears some similarity to retail point-of-sale systems, she said it manages far more information because of the high-value product it’s tracking and the way cannabis changes on its way to a patient.

“Agricultural products change over time, from growing a plant to harvesting the plant and perhaps drying the product out after you harvest it,” Poinsett said. “A typical point-of-sale system would not track to the level of [specificity] we need.”

Health Secretary Karen Murphy said setting up the tracking system was an important step along the path toward setting up Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana industry.

“This contract serves two important functions for the program: tracking medical marijuana from seed-to-sale; and creating a registry for patients, caregivers, and practitioners to participate in the program,” she said, in a written statement.

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