YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — Locked inside a fence with barbed wire, cannabis is growing in Yolo County.
“You’re looking at a couple of greenhouses right now,” said Aaron Morales of Kam Gardens.
Morales and his partners began cultivating less than a year ago.
“We’re doing different techniques,” said Morales as we walked through his rows of greenhouses.
As his business grows, local and state officials are working to patch together how this industry will function with regulations. Yolo County is taking part in a pilot program to track and trace marijuana from seed to sale. The cultivators in the training session are learning to digitally mark their products.
All 98 licensed growers in the county will eventually be required to take part in the pilot program, otherwise, their license will be revoked. The county has a $30,000 contract with SICPA to provide the tracking software and materials for the growers. The program will run through the end of the year. Fees on the growers will cover the pilot program costs.
Tracking used to be left up to each individual grower with no uniform method. Now, the days of pen and paper are over. barcode tracking systems are used to monitor plants from seed until they grow into flowers and eventually to the dispensary.
“With regulation comes transparency,” said John Young, the Yolo County agriculture commissioner.
He says digital tracking is essential to a safe and well-monitored product.
“One of the main concerns of law enforcement was, how are we going to prove that this product doesn’t end up leaving the state of California in violation of federal law,” explained Young.
Young says the county is also trying out direct upload of pesticide testing results to each barcode, which he says is an added layer of consumer safety.
“A lot of the pesticides we were seeing out there used by cannabis growers are not appropriate,” said Young.
“Make sure there is transparency in the process. Transparency in the testing,” said Julien Zanchi with SICPA.
Security company SICPA is providing the program, which they hope gets picked up by state regulators.
“Put together a system that works for everyone in California,” said Zanchi.
Early indications are, the program is catching on in Yolo.
“It will keep people more honest,” said Morales.