Blockchain Tracking and Cannabis Regulation: Developing a permissioned blockchain network to track Canada's cannabis supply chain


  • Brian Abelseth


Achieving government‘s goals for cannabis regulation requires legal cannabis to be a cheaper, more attractive consumer alternative compared to the illegal market. This goal may be undermined by the costs and disadvantages of traditional regulatory management.


A Canada wide, real-time blockchain tracking system appears to be a viable technical solution architecture.


A permissioned blockchain network could be tested alongside traditional tracking. This investment, if proven effective, could reduce regulatory costs for government and red tape for business, helping to achieve Governments‘ objectives to:

  1. Enhance public safety by ensuring quality and monitoring product sales
  2. Undermine illegal markets to reduce crime and prevent product diversion


BioTrackTHC. (2016). Secure Cannabis Software Solutions You Can Count On. Retrieved from

Deloitte. (2017). Using blockchain to drive supply chain innovation: A series exploring industry 4.0 technologies and their potential impact for enabling digital supply network in manufacturing. Retrieved from

Forbes. (2017). Alibaba, EY, IBM and Microsoft Use The Blockchain To Create A Transparent Supply Chain. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2016). A Framework for The Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada: The final report of the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2017). Compliance and Enforcement of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2018a). Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations: Division 5 – Record Keeping by Licensed Producer. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2018b). Legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis: the facts. Retreived from

IBM. (2017a). BlockChain: An Irrefutable Chain of Custody Audit for the Seed to Sale of Cannabis in BC. Retrieved from

IBM. (2017b). BlockChain Explained: The difference between public and private blockchain. Retrieved from

Maclean‘s. (2017). How big is Canada‘s marijuana market, really?. Retrieved from

METRC. (2016). The System. Retrieved from

Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Retrieved from

Ramachandran, A., & Kantarcioglu, D. (2017). Using Blockchain and smart contracts for secure data provenance management. Fourth International Conference on Computer Science and Information Technology.

Visa. (2017). Visa Public Key Infrastructure: Certificate Policy (CP). Retrieved from