GCOM and the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Launch Decentralized Identity Proof of Concept

The proof of concept, a next generation medical marijuana digital registration card, is built on GCOM’s Decentralized Identity for Government platform and gives residents control of their sensitive data while reducing risk of fraud and data theft

COLUMBIA, Md., Dec. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GCOM, a leading technology company that specializes in outcome-driven solutions for state and local governments, and the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) announced the creation of a self-sovereign identity-based medical marijuana card. This proof of concept marks the first of many decentralized identity initiatives that the State of Maryland will undertake in partnership with GCOM.

Traditional identity solutions store residents’ personally identifiable information (PII) in centralized government databases. For residents, this means each government interaction requires redundant paperwork, weeks of back and forth communication, and a lack of control of where personal data – such as name, address, medical history, and more – is stored or how it is shared. For agencies, manual identity verification processes are time-consuming, costly, and highly susceptible to fraud.

The aggregation of PII into centralized government databases make state and local governments a prime target for cyber attacks. According to the Maryland State and Local Government Cybersecurity 2021 Analysis and Recommendations, a single cyber attack against Baltimore City government in 2021 cost an estimated $18 million. Ransomware attacks on MedStar and Baltimore County Public Schools also wreaked havoc in Maryland: thousands were unable to access necessary healthcare services, and 115,000 students were shut out of classes.

To address these challenges, the MMCC partnered with GCOM to develop a decentralized identity solution: a medical marijuana digital registration card. Built on GCOM’s Decentralized Identity for Government (DIG) platform, the solution leverages distributed ledger technology that allows the MMCC to independently verify residents’ PII shared through unique, tamper-proof communication channels and without storing or managing any data. The result is reduced risk of fraud and data theft, improvement of agency efficiency in serving residents, and a faster turnaround time.

This proof of concept is the beginning of a long-term relationship between the state of Maryland and GCOM around decentralized identity. As outlined by Maryland Secretary of Information Technology, Michael Leahy, at the Maryland Virtual Digital Government Summit 2020, identity management is one of the state's top priorities. At the event, he stated, “As we get better at coming to understand what data we hold, it is a priority of [the Maryland Department Information Technology (DoIT)] that we work on identity and management of the data for individuals in a way that puts more and more of that data under the specific control of the data subject.”

“Maryland has long been a pioneer in digital government services, and that continues to expand into identity management and decentralized identity,” said Kamal Bherwani, CEO of GCOM. “GCOM's DIG solution offers all the convenience of existing digital IDs with some key differences that make it more scalable, more powerful, and more secure. Looking ahead, we’re excited to grow our partnership with the State of Maryland and bring more digital identity solutions to residents.”

To learn more about digital identity solutions, contact GCOM here or access GCOM’s Decentralized Identity for State & Local Government playbook.

About GCOM
GCOM delivers outcome-driven technology solutions to state and local governments that improve population wellbeing, create safer and more equitable communities, and foster a thriving economy. GCOM’s SaaS solutions, coupled with its IT and data analytics services, help governments to provide real-world program impact for residents. Spanning health and human services, public safety, and economic development, GCOM’s solutions include several purpose-built products focused on the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), vital records management, self-sovereign identity, community health analytics, and more.

Emily Brown
REQ on behalf of GCOM