Agrisoft Development Group

 

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February 9, 2015 Issue

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Enterprise-Level Software Solution for Cannabis Plants Tracking

 

 

Charles Ramsey
CEO

 

Agrisoft Development Group

www.Agrisoftdg.com

  

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – February 9, 2015

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Ramsey, what is the concept behind Agrisoft Development Group?

Mr. Ramsey: Agrisoft was developed to fulfill a need in the cannabis industry for an enterprise-level software solution that tracks cannabis plants from the moment they are cloned all the way through the sales to the intended consumer or patient. We also develop products aimed at state regulatory agencies responsible for monitoring and tracking cannabis production and sales. These products allow state staff to input data, allow patients and businesses to apply for licenses, help law enforcement access information about patients’ registration, and allow businesses to report production, sales, and other transactions to the state. We hope to bring this type of government-level software to the federal government at some point in the future as legalization evolves. We have built software specifically for states to track every facet of cannabis production, and we have now rolled out and launched a very innovative kiosk system that gives cannabis businesses the revenue traceability they need to access traditional banking services, which are sorely needed by all cannabis operators.

 

CEOCFO: How are you able to offer banking services?

Mr. Ramsey: The lack of access to traditional banking services has been a major stumbling block for the industry. We have discovered, however, that the SEC view is that cannabis revenue can be traced and regulated if the sales are tracked according to guidelines and memos published by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). When you look at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidelines and memo, the SEC standpoint on this is that cannabis revenue can be traced and regulated, provided that you meet FinCEN requirements. The solution that we have developed incorporates a kiosk that allows consumers to pay for their product with cash and closed-loop debit cards. When a patient comes in to purchase product, they order through a kiosk that has a touch-screen interface. The kiosk is updated in real time with the cannabis facility’s current inventory. This kiosk is interfaced with Agrisoft Seed to Sale management and point-of-sale software that the dispensary is using. The patient then is able to place selected products into their “shopping cart” on the kiosk. If, by chance, the customer were to attempt to purchase over his or her daily limit (as might be the case with medical cannabis), the customer receives a warning on the kiosk screen. Once the purchase is made, the kiosk asks for payment upon checkout, and the customer either may swipe a closed-loop debit card or insert cash into a bill changer. The kiosk scans for counterfeits and stores the cash in a vault located in the bottom of the kiosk. Dispensary staff (often known as “budtenders”) never touch the cash which goes directly from the patient or customer’s hands into the kiosk. The next time that cash is moved, it is by armored truck service, which then delivers it directly to the Federal Reserve or the bank. The cash payment kiosk manages the chain of custody from the customer to the bank, with transfer provided by bonded, cash transfer security services. We can actually go back and look at every transaction through the Agrisoft system and through an API. We can see the product and amount purchased and paid, the form of payment that went into the machine, and then we can track it all the way back to the actual batch and plant from which the product was derived. The chain of custody for cannabis and cash is controlled. There have been a number of FinCEN experts, bank regulators, and FDIC officials who have stated that the marriage of Agrisoft Seed to Sale with our cash-payment kiosk documents exactly where the cannabis and cash originated. They feel our solution accounts for all cannabis transactions end to end, and that this solution will eliminate the chance of cannabis and cash flowing into or out of grey or black markets.

 

CEOCFO: Are different entities using different parts of your software?

Mr. Ramsey: Agrisoft Seed to Sale’s core module has all the necessary features cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries require. An additional module may be added for those facilities that also extract cannabis oil and process it into edibles or other infused products. In addition, our software incorporates something that no other point of sale system currently provides—an integrated RFID tracking system. What that means is that the moment a plant is cloned, and that clone reaches a certain height, the plant may receive an RFID tag. That tag also includes a barcode. This combination allows cannabis businesses to track each plant through all of its growth and maturation cycles. Tracking does not stop once the plant is harvested. All the remaining parts of the plant, other than the bud, still may be tracked, and this is important to regulators. The stems, branches, leaves and so forth are placed into a large container. This plant material is called the shake. Shake is what is used to produce the extractions that go into the production of edibles and infused marijuana products. Using Agrisoft Seed to Sale, cannabis processors can document the exact batch of plants used and where they originated. As for the buds, Agrisoft Seed to Sale tracks the drying, packaging and the actual sale to the consumer, whether it is deli style (the budtender weighs the raw plant product and sells it by the ounce), or pre-packaged. From the moment the plant is cloned, all the way through its life stages, it is thoroughly tracked and completely compliant in a transparent manner. The module manages all transfers in and out of each facility, allowing businesses to track plant material they might purchase from other cultivators, track cultivation inputs, such as fertilizer and soil material, and trace the transfer of finished products to patients in states that permit delivery. Our point-of-sale features, which again, are part of the basic Seed to Sale core module, provide for inventory control, tracking of patients and their registration where required by law, caregiver information, patient preferences, and, finally products and quantities purchased. The point-of-sale features integrate with the cash-payment kiosk as described earlier. So, in general, different entities all use the Seed to Sale core module, and they may purchase additional modules for infused-product processing, enhanced cultivation, and physical security.


CEOCFO: Who is paying for the service?

Mr. Ramsey: The dispensaries, cultivators, and processors pay for the software. We also are very close to attaining government contracts that will provide the Agrisoft system for state and other governments. We are working with other international governments to utilize the software at a government level. They would utilize it to keep track of patients, products, and track revenue so it can be taxed.

 

CEOCFO: What has been the reception?

Mr. Ramsey: Without a doubt, for most of the industry’s young life, especially in legal states like Colorado, it has only had software solutions for about three and a half years. The solutions that were out there for the industry were basically born out of the industry. They were cobbled together from software tool kits or built very inexpensively—coding-in-your-basement style. While they served the industry at its inception, as you can imagine with this industry growing at such an incredible pace, being the gold rush of the 21st century, you have more and more business-centric and business-oriented people investing not only hundreds of thousands but millions of dollars in cultivation facilities and dispensaries. These are not mom-and-pop stores anymore. This more business-centric community wants its software solution to be a well-oiled machine; they need enterprise-level software. Antiquated and cobbled-together systems, built out of someone’s basement, no longer are going to cut it in the real world. I recognized there was incredible need for enterprise-level software. The pivotal, “ah-ha moment” for me was when I caught a “60 Minutes” piece about two years ago featuring a gentleman named Matt Cook who had written the bill in Colorado and headed up the first medical marijuana enforcement division. He is really credited with bringing about the most comprehensive, regulatory scheme out there of any state, and it is being replicated in many other states. It was a real light-bulb moment that told me the industry had matured and grown, and there was a profound need for cutting-edge software. My company, prior to the development of Agrisoft Seed to Sale, was in the world of building enterprise-level software for the health care industry, so the software we built prior to this not only had to be HIPAA compliant, but also FDA approved as a medical device. When I reached out to Mr. Cook the Monday morning after his “60 Minutes” piece aired, he invited us out to Colorado. We were there by the end of that same week touring dispensaries and grows and learning from the person who wrote the state regulations how poorly served the industry was by cobbled-together software. His desire, if we were so inclined to do it, was to build an enterprise-level software package for the cannabis industry—something that would be far more compliant, would eliminate diversion, eliminate theft and keep the product out of the wrong hands. Ultimately, Mr. Cook became Agrisoft’s COO. He and I now have run Agrisoft for nearly two years.

 

CEOCFO: What has changed from your original concept?

Mr. Ramsey: Software constantly is evolving. It never stays the same, and you never are finished coding a software system. What you ultimately end up with are end users who are very savvy and have a multitude of different methods of running their operations. They provide you with incredible knowledge and suggestions to augment engineering leaps that result in software that serves all their needs and better serves the entire industry. We have found over time that we continue to make enhancements and augmentations to the software primarily in things like reporting. These entities all have the same complaints about the solutions on the market today; particularly that there just were not enough detailed reports to run businesses adequately. We initially developed many times the number of reports that our competitors provided, but we since have realized that the smarter way of going about this is to allow the end user to create his or her own reports. The user literally creates a report for any method and way in which that they want to analyze their business in Agrisoft Seed to Sale. That is a real breakthrough and leap ahead that none of the big competition has provided. Probably the biggest and without a doubt the most game-changing aspect of what we have done is to bring the banking solution to fruition. We now are literally the first company to have integrated, live transactions running across a payment kiosk with an API back to our point of sale software. We will be bringing banks online in early 2015 for these dispensaries that have suffered for many years without traditional banking services.


CEOCFO: Is the end user aware yet or is it still not ready for prime time?

Mr. Ramsey: They are very aware. We currently have more than 150 dispensary owners throughout multiple states – Colorado, Arizona, California, Illinois, Washington, Oregon and Nevada – all wanting to get on the banking solution and get kiosks. Right now, we are vetting more than 150 people on a waiting list for that product. It is an incredible demand, and probably our biggest challenge right now is being able to hire quickly enough and train implementation staff so that we can keep up with the demand for the product. At the Third Annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo in Las Vegas in November, the largest business-to-business expo in the world, our booth was inundated with operators wanting to learn how they could adopt our software with kiosk and banking solution.

 

CEOCFO: Who are likely to be the first people looking to adopt? What might keep people other than being afraid of change from utilizing your service?

Mr. Ramsey: One of our biggest challenges we face is the fact that we are late bloomers. We did not enter the market at its inception. Three years ago, we looked at the lead software for this industry, and what we realized was that there was just not funding out there to properly finance ancillary services like software. We are very adamant that when we build a product, we build it right or not at all. At the time, we would have had to build our system on the cheap, very much like what our competitors had done. They started very early, without a mature industry and state regulations in full view. They built it in their basements, financed by second mortgages on their homes. I give them incredible praise for their bravery in doing so, but that method does not equal a solid, strong, built-from-the ground up foundation for software. We decided to forego developing our software at that time and wait until the market was ready. A couple years ago when we watched the “60 Minutes” piece, we realized that the industry had matured. At that point, there were a number of entities that were ready to fund us substantially. We were able to build the software exactly the way we built every other product—to FDA-approval standards, despite the fact FDA approval is not required in the cannabis industry. Nonetheless, we held ourselves to that standard. For this reason, we found ourselves a couple of years behind. Our biggest challenge is helping dispensary and grow owners understand that the solutions they currently are using are antiquated, and they are not sufficient to run a business properly. Systems currently on the market do not give them the tools or security needed to protect their data, and where we have great success gaining adoption of our system with new entities and new states coming along, we do face challenges from people who are loyal to the only software they have ever used. There is an educational process required in which our sales consultants give cannabis operators live demos and let them fully appreciate how much better they can manage their businesses, show them how they may be falling out of compliance due to their current software, and how they can increase profitability through better business reporting. They learn that they are not relegated to utilizing a substandard product just because it is ubiquitous in the cannabis industry.

 

CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose Agrisoft Development Group?

Mr. Ramsey: Agrisoft Seed to Sale is state of the art, which in our industry means it is the most comprehensive, compliant and transparent regulatory software available to the cannabis industry. It is the only software solution that incorporates a hardware kiosk that provides a transparent, complete, end-to-end banking solution so that operators can track a product from seed all the way to bank deposit. The other major advantage to Agrisoft Seed to Sale is the level of support that we provide for the product. It is head and shoulders above anyone else. We have an incredible team of support representatives and implementation specialists, and that team provides a level of ongoing customer service and support that is unparalleled in the industry.



 

“Agrisoft Seed to Sale is state of the art, which in our industry means it is the most comprehensive, compliant and transparent regulatory software available to the cannabis industry. It is the only software solution that incorporates a hardware kiosk that provides a transparent, complete, end-to-end banking solution so that operators can track a product from seed all the way to bank deposit.” - Charles Ramsey


 

Agrisoft Development Group

www.Agrisoftdg.com

 

Contact:

Kelly Putnam – Media Relations

855-354-2474

kellyp@agrisoftdg.com




 

 



 

 


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