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MJ Freeway Goes Down Again

MJ Freeway, a seed-to-sale tracking software platform for the cannabis industry, has struggled in recent months with hacks and outages, forcing some dispensaries to record sales by hand.

The company — which was offered a $10.4 million contract from the Pennsylvania government in April — suffered major disruptions on Saturday and Monday, forcing Pennsylvania's medical marijuana dispensaries to suspend business, and others to record sales and customer data by hand.

Seed-to-sale reporting is an important step for bringing legitimacy to the nascent cannabis industry, as well as helping businesses navigate the often complex regulations on a state-by-state basis.

Cannabis is legal in some form in 29 states, and each state has its own specific rules about what data businesses need to report to regulators.

This week's outage was hardly MJ Freeway's first misstep.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that MJ Freeway will fail to meet an October 31 deadline to run the state's cannabis tracking software.

And, in September, Nevada — where recreational marijuana was recently legalized and business is booming — canceled its contract with MJ Freeway just two years into a five-year deal, and handed the state's business to Metrc, a rival seed-to-sale tracking firm.

Jeannette Ward, a vice-president at MJ Freeway, said that the outages impacted their GramTracker inventory management product, and that the company took the sites offline to resolve the issue. MJ Freeway's enterprise product platform, which handles payroll and other human resources issues for businesses, wasn't impacted.

"On Saturday afternoon and Monday afternoon, we observed performance issues with our legacy Tracker software product. All client sites were taken offline for a period of time on Saturday evening and Monday afternoon to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. On both days, service was restored within a few hours, and client sites are currently live," Ward said in a statement. "MJ Freeway engineers made caching system changes to prevent a recurring caching issue, in addition to other changes to address performance and prevent this from recurring. Clients have been communicated with via phone and email with updates. There was no impact to MJ Platform, the recently launched enterprise technology."'

Many of MJ Freeway's issues can be traced to an ongoing series of hacks to the software.

In June, the company's source code was stolen and published on Reddit. In a follow-up email, Ward said that there were no "known downloads" of the code and it was removed from Pirate Bay swiftly.

"This incident had no impact on our systems or services, and client and patient data was not at risk," Ward said, adding that it was an "outdated portion."

And, in January, MJ Freeway was the target of a hack that caused the company's software to crash and businesses to lose valuable customer data.

MJ Freeway was the target of a sophisticated phishing scheme in September that reportedly offered information about Washington state cannabis businesses.

Users on active subreddit, R/WeedBiz, speculated that MJ Freeway's stolen source code was posted on The Pirate Bay, a torrent site, exposing the company to a risk of getting continually hacked.

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