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California Chooses Accela Software for Cannabis Licensing System

The Department of Technology is currently in negotiations with a systems integrator that will come aboard to install the software.

The state of California will use a product from Accela for a licensing system that will be deployed for the medical and recreational cannabis industry.

State CIO Amy Tong told a legislative panel on Monday that the software was chosen via a competitive price quote and selected in part because of its ease of use and flexibility as California approaches a mandated Jan. 1, 2018 go-live deadline.

"We decided to choose that product based on its track record being used in both the industry for licensing as well as other state entities that have chosen this particular product to implement a licensing capability," Tong said.

The Department of Technology is currently in negotiations with a systems integrator that will come aboard to install the software, Tong said. She did not immediately provide the legislators with the cost of the software.

The new IT systems for the cannabis industry — licensing and "track and trace" — are required by statute under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) of 2015. Officials also plan to build additional functionality within the licensing system to implement Prop 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. California voters approved that measure in November. The MCRSA legislation set an aggressive Jan. 1, 2018, date to launch the licensing system.

State Sen. Jerry Hill said the deadline is swiftly approaching and he noted there are a number of differences in the two laws.

"Frankly, I have to say there's a fair amount of skepticism, actually, from some up here," Hill said, referencing his colleagues, "about us meeting that deadline."

Tong and Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, explained that the software that will launch in January 2018 likely will not include all functionality, such as renewals. Tong said the goal is to have the capability by Jan. 1 to accept applications for licenses through a Web portal. But processing them could take longer.

"We are not going to be able to grant everybody a license on Day One, on Jan. 1, 2018. But we do have the authority to issue temporary licenses and we're evaluating, perhaps, what's the best way to prioritize those temporary licenses," Ajax said.

This story was originally published by TechWire.