International partners looking to grow pot-tagging biz

The bigger the better: Applied DNA Sciences and TheraCann International are expanding the scope of their legalized marijuana tagging program.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Two months after introducing the world’s first DNA-based cannabis-tagging system, a Stony Brook biotech and its Canadian partner are looking to increase their stash of legal-marijuana growers.

Supply-chain security and product-authentication specialist Applied DNA Sciences and Canadian pharmaceutical-solutions provider TheraCann International Benchmark Corp. this week announced an upgraded system designed to accommodate different sizes and type of growers – particularly larger-volume cannabis and hemp growers.

The next generation of TheraCann International’s ETCH Biotrace solution – which leverages Applied DNA’s CertainT platform to tag, test and track commercial cannabis harvests – follows the successful debut of the tagging system at July’s National Cannabis Industry Association tradeshow in San Diego.

Noting “tremendous interest” following the show, Applied DNA Director of Cannabis Business Development Gordon Hope said the biotech and its Calgary-based partner were inspired to “accelerate our expansion of tagging solutions to meet the varied cannabis market conditions” – including the size of the grower and whether the crops are grown indoors, outdoors or in a hybrid environment.

The new design will “scale in increments for larger-grow operations,” according to Applied DNA, giving growers an efficient way to tag their cannabis or hemp and support claims of traceability, quality and certain intellectual properties.

As with the original ETCH Biotrace system, the upgrade utilizes a growing facility’s drying or staging rooms, where a portable tagging system can mark crops with a DNA-based biomarker – and do so quickly, according to Applied DNA, “without slowing down operations during harvest.”

Applied DNA expects interest to fire up again after it showcases the original cannabis-tagging system and the larger-volume upgrade at this November’s Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. But both the biotech and TheraCann International are pleased with the attention ETCH Biotrace has already sparked.

“The expanded portfolio supports and enhances the ETCH Biotrace brand and strategy,” TheraCann International CEO Jason Warnock said in a statement, adding the molecular-tagging effort offers “a comprehensive end-to-end solution to tag, test and track from source to retail shelf.”