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Washington’s New Marijuana Tracking System Hacked

Posted by Steve Karimi | Feb 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board established a new marijuana trace-ability system, Leaf Data Systems, to monitor pot transfers. A little more than a week later, officials are scrambling to trace who is responsible for hacking the new software.

The tracking system was expected to answer the question of how to meet federal guidelines established during President Obama's administration. The system was designed to track pot from seed to sale statewide in order to tamp any federal jitters about marijuana trading across state lines or being diverted to the underground market. The system's failure in the first week of operation has sent the state's marijuana business owners into a tizzy. The Seattle Times reports that some business owners can't log into the system, others are experienced shipping orders being scrambled, among other serious problems.

MJ Freeway, purveyors of the data service and pot-tracking software, learned of the problem two days after it occurred. After the security breach was discovered, the flaw was resolved and marijuana businesses were notified. Hackers stole transportation manifests of marijuana transports, including delivery vehicle identifiers (e.g., license-plate numbers and VIN numbers).

The hack immediately affected supplies of marijuana, slowing the restocking of already-short supplies because expected deliveries were delayed. But even before the hack, growers, producers of edible marijuana products, and store owners had already experienced a dysfunctional system. Growing numbers of accounts of businesses began seeing only a fraction of their orders correctly moving through the tracking system. Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Liquor and Cannabis Board was quoted in the Seattle Times as stating, "They [MJ Freeway] only had between July and October 31 [2017] to put together their system. It wasn't ready."

Before the Breach: the Tracking System was not Ready to be Used

Aside from the breach, growers have complained that the system had incorrectly processed orders and randomly changed order destinations. Business owners had blamed the system for putting a drag on the entire industry in Washington, slowing and sometimes stopping business altogether.

Thus, for a system meant to give regulators a tool to monitor the entire industry within the state for federal purposes specifically, it gave instead confusion. Any suspicious movement of plants or products were supposed to be able to be flagged early, but some businesses can't even get the plants and products moved or transported. All items—plants and products—were to be entered into the system and recorded when it is sold, but some businesses can't even login.

Since Washington legalized marijuana, many of the government rules and processes are still catching up in largely uncharted territory. Rules still exist dictating where you can and cannot possess and use marijuana. Just because it is no longer illegal to purchase and use, you can still be charged with possession. Many individual businesses and agencies maintain their own rules about possession and use. If you or a loved one is fighting a charge of marijuana possession, call Karimi Law Office today to learn more about what your defense strategy should be. Our office offers 24-hour service. Call today to make an appointment for your consultation.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.

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