Monthly Archives: June 2017

i502 Traceability system replacement – quick update

Published / by bde / 1 Comment on i502 Traceability system replacement – quick update

Hi guys. Just a quick and dirty post before I head out to go paint a cabin. I’ve had email back and forth and phone calls with an MJ Freeway account representative this week. I have a link to a full demo of their platform that I have yet to watch. I did not get a demo, but spoke with the rep for about 20 minutes. Here are my takeaways:

  • MJ Freeway was just made aware of this last week, just like the rest of us. They are scrambling to put a plan together. This is a little scary.
  • They will develop/support/maintain an open API to allow 3rd party integration as mandated by the LCB. When I mentioned that it seemed like METRC pulled their bid because they locked people into their RFID technology, and asked how they dealt with this, he said they are committed to maintaining an open API as the state mandates and will be working on a plan for this in the coming days/weeks.
  • I expressed my concern over the timeline for implementation – and also asked why the state mandates October rollout. He didn’t know either. I still  don’t really understand the motivation behind the October hard date for replacement of Biotrack. Does anyone know why October is so important?
  • I’ve sent follow up email asking for a call with a technical resource or product manager to get a more in depth overview of their platform, architecture, and underlying framework. Also to discuss their plans for backwards compatibility, maintaining the existing biotrack API, and how they plan to maintain/extend it with their own API approach/model.

NET TAKEAWAY: I am still deeply concerned about the viability of this massive software rip and replace project that the LCB has mandated. We already had a less than stellar list of initial vendors who submitted bids. We lost the first one because they tried to lock us into their proprietary technology and hardware. Now we are left with the “next best vendor” – ok who’s in second? Ok. Here we go again.

More later.

Questions for MJ Freeway – demo scheduled for next week

Published / by bde / 1 Comment on Questions for MJ Freeway – demo scheduled for next week

My request to MJ Freeway for a demo/overview was very well attended to. Within an hour or two, I received a phone call (went to voicemail as I was busy at the time) and also a follow up email with a personal offer to assist with my inquiries and questions and to setup a demo. This is encouraging. I think they may have even visited my blog and done a little digging on me. Hmmm. OK.

I have a call/demo setup next week and will ask some very important questions, mostly on the technical / software side of things. Here are a few of the items I would like to learn more about:

  1. Security – what have you done to address the security breach and how have you addressed the concerns of your customers.
  2. Robustness – deep dive on underlying framework and architecture
  3. Speed & Performance – how well does the app perform (with all available bells and whistles). e.g. how long to print, label, scan, and record data on a lot with 100 units.
  4. Architecture – hosted?, cloud? on site?
  5. Ease of Use – end user, manager, developer, LOB, etc.
  6. Openness / Integration – with 3rd party apps/services – Greenbits support? Weedtraqr support? Mr Kracken? – will MJ Freeway work with other commercial software built on top of biotrack?
  7. APIs – full feature parity? API updates? When? How? To whom? REST? JSON?
  8. Cost to business owners – how do existing investments in hardware and software to support compliance and traceability translate over to the MJ Freeway system.
  9. Software development methodology – agile? Release cycle? Next release plans? Features added? Features in queue? Size of dev team?
  10. Consulting – why needed if solution is “turn key”? What is a typical engagement? What are the rates? Who is this for?
  11. Number of customers? Largest deployment? Biggest project to date?
  12. Reference Customers – who can I go talk to that is an active (and sizeable) MJ Freeway customer?
  13. Corporate – history, growth, revenue, debt, legal, etc?

Hey i502 industry folks, what do you want to know about MJ Freeway, the current Apparent Selected Vendor to replace Biotrack for the state traceability system for Recreational Marijuana? Post your questions and/or concerns here and I’ll take it to the folks I’m meeting with next week.



Franwell pulls bid to replace Biotrack for WA State i502 Recreational Cannabis Traceability System

Published / by bde / Leave a Comment

Well, it looks like enough people spoke up to the LCB and they listened. I received the following Email from LCB yesterday regarding Franwell and their decision to pull the bid for the contract to replace Biotrack.


After spending 15 years in the Enterprise software space, I was involved in a number of large scale integration, migration, upgrade, and “rip and replace” style software development projects. These projects are costly, messy, and never go according to plan.

Why is LCB in such a rush to implement a new system by October? If this mandate stands, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY TO IMPLEMENT A ROBUST SOLUTION for a project at this scale. Especially one that aspires to do a full rip and replace with a standard, dev/test/release cycle in between. These types of projects take 18-24 months at best, let alone 4 months.

4 month dev cycle. With a government project?

Text from letter from LCB:


Attention Licensees: The below message was sent yesterday by Deputy Director Peter Antolin to licensees who had written to the Board and staff regarding the marijuana traceability Apparent Successful Vendor and RFID tags.

June 7, 2017

On behalf of the Liquor and Cannabis Board, thank you for writing recently to express your concerns about the change in vendors for the state traceability system and specifically RFID tags.

RFID Not Required
The WSLCB will not require RFID as part of the marijuana traceability project. Our Request for Proposal (RFP) was clear that the marijuana seed-to-sale traceability system must support a variety of tagging methodologies such as bar codes, RFID, etc. The RFP requirements did not allow a vendor to make any assumptions regarding use of a single tagging methodology or allow vendors to include any such costs affecting the state or our licensees in their proposal. In addition, unique plant and inventory identification numbers will be centrally created, maintained, and made available to third-party software systems via the API. Licensees will also be able to print their own labels.

Traceability Advisory Group
As the WSLCB prepared the RFP, we engaged representatives of the major industry trade organizations. We held several meetings together to gather input and clearly communicate our intentions. At the most recent meeting held June 6, we again asked that the representatives of the Traceability Advisory Group communicate with their members about this important point.

Change in Apparent Successful Vendor
As we have indicated, the Apparent Successful Vendor (ASV) was not final until contract negotiations were complete and a contract was signed. Earlier today, the initial ASV, Franwell, withdrew its proposal for Washington State. An ASV is the procurement term used for the highest scoring, responsive vendor.

We are pleased to notify you that the second place bidder also submitted a strong bid and has accepted our choice to be the new ASV. MJ Freeway is the new ASV. We will soon schedule a product demonstration with our Traceability Advisory Group and begin contract negotiations quickly to get this project implemented.

This project is on a tight timeline. The new traceability system must be in place Oct. 31, 2017. We are taking the necessary steps now to ensure a smooth transition from the current system to the new one.

Thank you again for writing the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Brian E. Smith
Communications Director
Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board