Shoppers Drug Mart inks blockchain deal to protect cannabis quality

Shoppers Drug Mart is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. (TTT.V) to bolster its medical cannabis retail platform. The Vancouver-based company’s blockchain-based software is designed to guarantee product quality and genetics throughout supply chain from genome-to-patient.

The pharmacy giant said the move brings medical cannabis closer in line with standards for other drugs in a statement to Yahoo Finance Canada, ahead of the deal’s announcement at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B. on Monday.

“Medical cannabis should have the same levels of traceability and accountability as any other drug therapy in order for patients and prescribers to feel confident about it as a treatment,” said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers Drug Mart’s vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

“When a patient takes any other medication there is an expectation that the medicine is standardized, and they can expect consistent clinical outcomes and results. Although that’s not always a guarantee with medical cannabis at the moment, we’re hoping this new program can help change that.”

TruTrace’s pilot project with the wholly-owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited (L.TO) will allow the company to track real-time data from licensed producers and testing labs, including product genetics, providence, quality and shipment information. The data will be securely added to a blockchain ledger where it can be viewed by Shoppers Drug Mart, and accessed to varying degrees by authorized labs, licensed producers and patients.

The pilot phase, which is expected to last until the end of July, will see the technology applied to a limited number of products for sale on the Shoppers Drug Mart medical cannabis website. The program is expected to ramp up to handle a larger volume of products by November.

TruTrace chief executive officer Robert Galazara said his company was initially met with skepticism by the Shoppers Drug Mart team.

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