Humboldt County’s pilot track-and-trace program for its medical cannabis market will end Feb. 28, with the county now working toward implementing a permanent system for the potentially thousands of cannabis businesses in the county.

The program began in August and is being tested on a micro-scale with the Swiss company SICPA, which currently tracks cigarette sales for all of California.

Nearly 150 cannabis sites in 47 cities throughout the state participated in the county program, with about 1,800 pounds of Humboldt County marijuana being tracked, according to a news release from SICPA this week.

The program works by having cannabis businesses use unique tracking stamps that allow SICPA and county regulators to track where the cannabis is and where it has gone in order to prevent potential diversions to the black market.

When scanned, the stamps give both consumers and regulators the ability to view where the product came from, the exact batch number, and other product information.

Over 30,000 stamps were used during the seven-month program, according to SICPA.

Along with unique identifiers, the stamp for Humboldt County’s track-and-trace program includes a QR code that can be scanned to provide information about what farm the cannabis came from, who grew it, the batch number and other information for both consumers and regulators. Courtesy of the Humboldt County Administrative Office

“It was important to learn through the pilot program whether track and trace could demonstrate that the county’s commercial cannabis program incorporates enforcement principles important to local and federal law enforcement, including preventing distribution to minors, preventing diversion to other states, preventing revenue from supporting criminal enterprises and preventing growing on public lands,” Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf said in a statement. “We wanted to prepare ourselves for a full-scale program, and that’s what we did.”

California’s Board of Equalization is currently working to implement its own track-and-trace system in order to track cannabis tax payments for the statewide market. Humboldt County’s pilot program was being eyed as a potential model for the state system.