While everyone is still up in arms about Russia’s alleged hacking of the US election, the cannabis industry has been dealing with its own vulnerability issues in the digital space. Last week, the cannabis sales and inventory tracking software MJ Freeway had their servers taken down by anonymous hackers, leaving their entire business in jeopardy.
Since then, MJ Freeway has struggled to revive their sales system, but a number of businesses and dispensaries have jumped ship in the meantime. The Denver-based software company has been scrambling to retain their customers and fix the damage done by the hacking.
The software platform is used to process and record sales transactions, track inventory, remain in compliance with state regulations, and other critical business tasks. But the recent cyber-attack left their clientele struggling to operate properly.
In fact, MJ Freeway was responsible for building the entire seed-to-sale tracking system used throughout Nevada, leaving almost every dispensary in the state without a functional sales system. The CEO of the cannabis software company, Amy Poinsett, called the hack an “unprecedented malicious attack.”
The “seed-to-sale” software company claims that just a few of their clients have decided to switch to competing services in light of the hack. Jeannette Ward, MJ Freeway’s director of data and marketing, stated that the “actual number of clients lost is a very small percentage of total clients.”
“It’s a lot. A lot, a lot. We had people switch in under 12 hours to our platform … These are people who are hurting right now, who are down and out, because they’re out of compliance. And that’s a big deal.”
According to MJ Freeway, over 1,000 dispensaries and cannabis retailers across the country use their platform, but their failure to fully repair the server takedown could put a serious dent in that number.
As of now, the software company has not received any ransom demand, leading them to suspect a personal or political motivation for the hacking. Regardless, the unfortunate cyber-attack is a sobering reminder of how dependent the cannabis industry is on the highly vulnerable digital realm.