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Updated: December 30, 2019

Maine negotiates with new vendor for marijuana track-and-trace

FILE PHOTO / TIM GREENWAY Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy is negotiating a contract for marijuana track-and-trace services with a new vendor after the original one couldn't deliver as promised.

Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy is negotiating with a new potential vendor, Florida-based Metrc LLC, to provide "track and trace" services for the state's medical and adult-use cannabis market.

The arrangement comes after OMP and BioTrackTHC, the original recipient of the contract, agreed to terminate it, citing the company's inability to meet the deal's requirements, according to a news release.

Following a competitive procurement, OMP in May awarded the track-and-trace contract to BioTrack, also based in Florida, and agreed to use the company's cloud-based software to track the growth and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products in Maine. BioTrack's bid was one of six received for the contract.

BioTrack failed to deliver requirements of the contract, including a user portal that was scheduled to launch Oct. 1, the Office of Marijuana Policy said. 

OMP said it remains dedicated to ensuring the timely rollout of the adult-use marijuana program and does not anticipate any major setbacks because of the transition.

“Although unfortunate, the move to terminate the contract was necessary to ensure that the state of Maine can proceed in a timely manner with the rollout of its adult use marijuana program,” OMP Director Erik Gundersen said in the release.

“BioTrackTHC worked with OMP to try to meet the contractual, statutory and regulatory needs of our office. Despite their best efforts, it became clear they could not meet the short- and long-term requirements.” 

BioTrackTHC Chief Operating Officer Moe Afaneh said in the release, "BioTrack appreciates the opportunity to have worked in partnership with the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. We will continue to support the Maine industry as a whole through our other products. BioTrack remains committed to serving the cannabis community."

Under Maine procurement regulations, OMP has signed a letter of intent with the runner-up in the original bid, Metrc. More information about the agreement will be made available when a contract is executed, according to the release.

“Our team is ready to get started and support the successful launch of retail sales this spring,” Metrc CEO Jeff Wells said in the release. “We look forward to partnering with the OMP and licensed community to meet this landmark goal in 2020.”

OMP said it plans to first implement the track-and-trace system in the adult-use program, and will announce details of the schedule soon. 

The Mills administration created OMP in February. The office is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of legalized marijuana, including Maine's existing medical-use marijuana program

The value of Maine’s medical and recreational marijuana market could be nearly $300 million by 2025, according to Portland-based Nucleus One Consulting, a cannabis advisory firm.

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January 2, 2020

If you don’t have a system that is viable for the smaller grower, they will be squeezed out before they get started leaving only the big money operations to survive. California, Colorado and Massachusetts have shown that higher taxes and operating costs make it impossible for the legal market to compete with the already well established black market. It’s already difficult for a small grower to have a viable business plan because of their inability to deduct many business expenses from their federal tax returns. If the state legislature wants to support an open and legal adult cannabis market then the representatives have to allow it to take root in a friendly environment that supports legal operations that can provide the product CHEAPER than the black market!

January 1, 2020

As a Medical Grower in Maine, we are allowed just 30 flowering plants. It does not make sense to track and trace just 30 plants. That is for farmers out west with 10,000 plants. Canopy is the only way to go, without adding how many additional hours of work and expenses to a "small" farmer who already has enough work to do, and is allowed 30 plants

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