Maine signed a conditional award for a “seed-to-sale” marijuana tracking system that will be necessary in the new recreational market. This Friday, March 22, 2019, file photo shows a marijuana plant at Compassionate Care Foundation’s medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Credit: Julio Cortez | AP

Maine has issued a conditional award for marijuana track and trace services, a necessary part of the new recreational market.

The Office of Marijuana Policy announced the award with Bio-Tech Medical Software Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday afternoon.

Once a contract is successfully negotiated, the state’s marijuana regulatory agency will deploy Bio-Tech’s BioTrackTHC cloud-based software. The product has barcode-based tags to track the growth and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products throughout Maine.

State regulators announced draft rules for adult-use marijuana sales on April 23, more than two years after Mainers voted to legalize it.

Maine’s adult-use marijuana industry is expected to be much larger than the current medical marijuana program, which consists of eight dispensaries and approximately 2,500 caregivers.

The track and trace service, which is in use in eight other states and territories, will apply to the existing Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program and Maine’s future adult-use recreational program.

“The selection of BioTrackTHC as Maine’s seed-to-sale tracking software is another important milestone for the Office of Marijuana Policy,” OMP Director Erik Gundersen said in a prepared statement.

The state received proposals from six interested parties. Out of a possible 100 points, the proposals review team gave BioTrackTHC’s proposal 90 points.

Bidders were scored on organizational qualifications and experience, proposed services and cost. The next closest bidder was Metrc, with 69.73 points.

A seed-to-sale tracking system is a supply chain management tool that uses tags to track the growth and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products.

The OMP said its deployment in Maine will help ensure licensee compliance with state law, prevent diversion of product from the regulated market to the black market and assist the state in ensuring the safety of the product made available to consumers.

In March, OMP announced it had withdrawn from a contract agreement with Metrc to provide track and trace services for Maine’s medical program. Original plans had called for expanding that agreement to adult use marijuana.

Mainers voted to legalize the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana in November 2016. At the time, Maine joined eight other states that had legalized recreational use.

On Jan. 27, 2017, the Legislature placed a moratorium until February 2018 on certain parts of the law related to retail sales and taxation. During that time, a 17-member legislative committee worked to overhaul the Marijuana Legalization Act.

The moratorium expired Feb. 1, 2018, after an unsuccessful legislative effort to pass a short-term extension.

Still, retail sales are not possible until the state’s finance administration completes the rulemaking and those rules are approved by the Legislature.

Medical marijuana is already legal to sell in Maine.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.