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California Releases Bid for Cannabis Track and Trace System

The Cannabis Activity Tracking solution will collect data and follow cannabis products from cultivators/nurseries through dispensaries.

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The state of California has put out a bid for a "track-and-trace" system, a major piece of the technology apparatus that will enable regulation of the medical and recreational cannabis industry.

The Statewide Technology Procurement Division is managing this procurement for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Final offers for the Cannabis Activity Tracking (CAT) solution are due April 26. Dates are subject to change.

"The purpose of the CAT Solution is to track cannabis from cultivation through sale at dispensary. The state law requires licensees, including cultivators, to enter specified data into the CAT system when moving cannabis. Since cannabis can only be moved from one licensee to another, all licensing systems must share license data with the CAT solution. Thus, the CAT solution must be able to share data with the CDFA Licensing system. The two contractors will need to work together to enable the licensing solution and CAT solution to share data," the bid says.

The track-and-trace system will collect data and follow cannabis products from cultivators/nurseries through dispensaries, the regulatory areas under CDFA's purview. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is drafting regulations to license the cultivation of cannabis. "The law does not require CDFA to collect information on patients nor does CDFA desire that to be a component of the chosen solution," the bid says.

The state of California will buy a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution as the foundation of the system. The bid says California will utilize Public Contract Code §6611, which allows the state to negotiate with vendor(s) during the procurement phase. The contract will be for two years, with as many as five additional option years.

Here are the key action dates for the bid for the track-and-trace system.


New IT systems for the cannabis industry — "track and trace" and multiple licensing systems — are required by statute under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) of 2015. Officials also plan to build additional functionality within those IT systems to implement Prop 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. California voters approved that measure in November. The MCRSA legislation set an aggressive Jan. 1, 2018, date to launch the licensing system.

The state has selected software from Accela under a $3.5 million contract for a licensing system that the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Department of Technology will implement by that Jan. 1, 2018, deadline.

Search the state's procurement website, Cal eProcure, to view the bid for the Cannabis Activity Tracking system.

Matt Williams was Managing Editor of Techwire from June 2014 through May 2017.