Australian Securities Exchange-listed firm Security Matters has filed a patent application in the United States for a blockchain system to securely manage the cannabis supply chain.
The proposed system could be applied to mark, track and manage the supply chain for cannabis plants, products and cannabis-derived ingredients, ZDNet reported on Sept. 3.
Cannabis on the blockchain
Security Matters — which publicly trades in Australia but is headquartered in Israel — has indicated that the scope of the patent covers the use of its proprietary chemical solution for “marking” cannabis plants at any stage of their cultivation — even to the seed prior to planting.
The firm is now commercializing this technology, which uses a concealed chemical-based form of barcode to indelibly mark any material — solid, liquid, or gas. It has outlined that:
"The marking solution can be applied to the seed or plant via a coating, irrigation, and fertilisation method and is used for product authentication, supervision and supply chain management of the plant and plant by-products."
When read, the barcode reveals corresponding data immutably stored on a blockchain, which Security Matters says provides an end-to-end security and transparency solution for the agricultural and cannabis sectors.
The firm’s CEO and founder Haggai Alon has said the solution tackles two key concerns for the cannabis industry — the ability to trace cannabis’ origin and to control and monitor its content in order to ascertain in which application it will finally be used:
"SMX's technology has the ability to do this and can ensure both needs are met without the requirement for complex genetic modification or negative impact to the cannabis seed, plants, or plant products,"
In Australia, the consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes is currently illegal, although medicinal use is permitted.
The blockchain and cannabis industries both continue to contend with a degree of regulatory and legal uncertainty, government pressure and the perception of being high-risk.
They also share an ongoing struggle with banking support — cannabis — while now legal in selected U.S. states — remains a controlled and illicit substance at the federal level.
Earlier this month, the state of Arizona accepted a blockchain-based, cannabis industry-oriented payments solution into its fintech sandbox.