'Square for cannabis' enters Maryland as medical marijuana program gets up and running - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Dec. 12, 2017 10:37 am

‘Square for cannabis’ enters Maryland as medical marijuana program gets up and running

Medical pot comes with a lot of regulations. Green Bits makes a platform to help dispensaries report what they sold to the state.

Marijuana plants.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

It took a while, but medical marijuana became available in Maryland at the beginning of December.

According to the Washington Post, about seven dispensaries had plans to start distributing cannabis throughout the month. That comes after a few years of bureaucratic wrangling and delays. And it remains a phased rollout, as many (i.e. 90+) dispensaries that received a license still don’t have full approval.

But for tech companies who sprouted around providing tools for the medical marijuana industry, the opening signals that Maryland expansion plans can move into full gear.

One such company is Green Bits. The Silicon Valley–based venture makes a platform that helps dispensaries track and record inventory and customer and transactions. It helps the dispensaries play their part in “seed to sale” tracking of marijuana that is required by the state, said Green Bits Chief Revenue Officer Charlie Wilson. Basically, the state requires reporting of everything that happens to a marijuana plant between the time it sprouts and the time it goes to a customer.

“The state wants to know what’s happening to that product all the way through,” Wilson said. So dispensaries can have a typical point-of-sale system to handle purchases, but need to do more than a usual retailer to fit the regulations.

“Think of us as like the Square for the cannabis industry,” Wilson said. The platform allows dispensaries to verify that patients are licensed, record the amount purchased by customers and it reports back quantities to the state’s regulators in real-time, Wilson said.

“They would otherwise do all of this work manually and it presents a great opportunity for human error,” he said.

Green Bits tracks the plants. (Courtesy photo)

Green Bits tracks the plants. (Courtesy photo)

Three-year-old Green Bits is currently set to work with 20 dispensaries in the state, including Charm City Medicus in Dundalk. Overall, the state has 102 dispensaries that were awarded licenses. Wilson said the company will look to expand as more dispensaries get up and running. It currently operates in seven other states.

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Given the number of vendors around the industry, we’ll be interested to see if any local startups get involved.

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