Blockchain technology could provide a secure way to track the legal sale of cannabis in Canada, IBM has said.
The British Columbia government has begun a public consultation on the legalisation of marijuana, which could take effect in July.
Blockchain is a secure method of recording data using a digital ledger system distributed among hundreds of computers.
The technology underlies crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.
Seed to sale
IBM said: "Blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control - from seed to sale.
"Blockchain is a highly effective trust mechanism which uses a cryptographically-secure shared ledger to irrefutably track complex transactions amongst many known parties."
The distributed nature of a blockchain database means it is harder for hackers to attack it and the data is kept secure and private because the cryptographic key that secures it cannot be converted back.
Technology company Everledger is already using the technology to verify the history of diamond transactions.