Seed to Sale Software
The cannabis industry has made great strides in recent years. There are now 33 states that recognize some form of cannabis legalization. However, because of the federal regulations, the cannabis industry continues to evolve in a legal grey area. Because of this, the cannabis industry is more highly scrutinized and regulated than any other industry.
Seed to sale tracking software was born out of regulators’ desire to track every step of the cannabis life cycle. This sounds like a simple request, right? Wrong! The complex regulations that vary by state make effectively tracking cannabis products and remaining compliant at all times extremely challenging. In addition, the complex life cycle and supply chain of cannabis products adds an additional layer of complexity to tracking.
What Does Seed to Sale Mean?
Seed to sale tracking is the process of identifying every unique cannabis plant and tracking it through every stage of its commercial lifecycle (i.e. from seed to sale). The cannabis plant can take many paths in it’s journey from seed to sale, and the process can be complex, therefore it is extremely important to develop strong guidelines and standards around tracking. A process born out of regulatory demand is now one of the keys to ensuring consistent, high quality and safe cannabis products that remain in legal markets.
Why Do Regulators Need Seed to Sale Tracking?
Cannabis Safety and Quality
Being able to track each step of cannabis product’s life allows regulators to establish a detailed chain of custody and record of every interaction the plant has with people, chemicals, processing, etc. This ensures that potentially harmful or contaminated products can be identified and recalled quickly.
Establishing strict seed to sale tracking guidelines allows regulators to better track operators in every vertical to understand and monitor which companies are paying their taxes. In many states, cannabis taxes provide significant funding for educational programs.
Cannabis Illicit Market
Perhaps the main reason for seed to sale tracking is to reduce and eliminate the volume of cannabis making its way from regulated, tax-paying operations to the illicit market where regulators can’t control quality or charge taxes.
What are the 7 Stages of Seed to Sale Tracking for Cannabis?
There are seven stages to a commercial cannabis plant’s life and it is important to understand every step of the way. Why? The industry and regulators must be able to identify potentially harmful chemicals, crop threatening germs or insects, or several other potential threats quickly. In addition, we need to be able to isolate instances quickly. This does two things; first, it keeps our consumers safe. And second, it protects your business operations. Below, we will identify the seven stages to a commercial cannabis plant’s life. In each stage we’ll explain why seed to sale tracking is important and how it can benefit your operation beyond simply remaining compliant.
It is important to begin your seed to sale tracking from the beginning, with your seeds. Without understanding where your seeds came from, you’ll be inhibited from making logical and data driven decisions moving forward. Say you create the highest selling strain in your company’s history, but can’t remember where you got those seeds? Back to the drawing board to try and replicate your process, and a major blow to your company’s bottom line, much less the consumers that are dying to get more of that now-famous strain you’ve sold out of.
By the time you’re growing actual plants, each one should have its very own 16-digit identifying number. This will help you record your plants phases locations, and even employee interactions with it throughout its life. Many grows have multiple rooms for different stages and multiple shift managers that will be interacting with the plants. Without tracking, your night manager, Joe, could accidently increase the temperature of grow room #1, thus affecting the outcome of your crop; and you’d have no way of knowing who, when or why this happened.
All cannabis components are batched by material-type. Batched material receives a new 16-digit identifier that contains plant history since propagation. Batched material includes prepackaged goods or derivatives such as oil concentrate. After harvesting, the cannabis product’s unique identifier follows it directly into it’s packaging before being sent to certified labs for testing.
All cannabis products must go through rigorous testing in most legal states. It is always highly recommended even in states that don’t have specific testing regulations in place. Cannabis plants are tested for chemicals and contaminants in addition to an expansive list of additives that have been deemed harmful to either the plant, or consumers. At this stage, your cannabis potency is also tested. This is an important milestone in your seed to sale tracking. Here you will know if your plant is ready to be transported to it’s final selling destination. This is also the most common stage for identifying contaminants or other issues with your plant. And without proper seed to sale tracking software in place, you could be risking a complete company shutdown, which sometimes last up to 12 months, until the cause can be identified and eradicated.
While transporting cannabis, it is imperative that you have accurate, secure and compliant seed to sale tracking software in place. For anyone distributing cannabis, it is required by law that you keep detailed manifests of all transportation of cannabis products. In addition, it makes good business sense to properly track your transportation efforts. This allows you to avoid business-to-business liability, improve practices and reduce risk of theft.
Each product is linked back to the origin of the plant as well as what sales are tracked to what patients or customers. This is also known as the chain of custody. Audit trails are another important feature because this is how a distributor can easily supply proof that they are in compliance.
The two important keywords when it comes to seed to sale tracking at your point-of-sale (POS) system are “chain of custody, and audit trails.” Chain of custody allows you to track each sold sku back to an original distributor, cultivator, grower, and even seed. This will allow you to make informed retail purchase decisions based on consumer demand, and quality of your supply. Audit trails, a trail of record, detailing every interaction, movement, and change that occurs in your products lifetime. This allows your distributors, cultivators, growers, etc. to prove their compliance and empowers you to find the exact point in your products life where something might have gone wrong or fallen out of compliance if you ever have an issue with a particular product.
6. Patient Identification and Verification
Every cannabis patient is given their own unique ID, which allows you to begin observing and evaluating trends in patient behavior. This helps lead to a data-driven supply chain and a more efficient industry; all thanks to seed to sale tracking technology.
On the recreational side, consumers don’t necessarily have IDs, however many seed to sale software allow you to track your customers behaviors on a voluntary basis so your business can run off of data, not hunches. Consumers like this because it means you can better provide the products they love and reduce output of products they don’t care for.
7. Real-time data portal
The traceability portal is a secure, online, data hub that provides detailed analytics for regulatory agencies and law enforcement. The data allows law enforcement to track cannabis transportation and inventory in real-time. Detailed financial reports are available for the Department of Revenue or other agencies. This ensures compliance and adherence to industry standards and state laws
What are some examples of Seed to Sale Software?
There are several qualified seed to sale tracking software providers in cannabis. Depending on your state, you may have a required seed to sale tracking provider, but we encourage you to familiarize yourself with a variety so you can make an informed decision that will have the greatest impact on your operation when selecting your seed to sale tracking partner. To see cannabis partners, we’ve worked with and would recommend, please visit our partner directory here.