Cannabis Seed-to-Sale Regulatory Compliance With Inventory Tracking Software

Since cannabis growing became legal in California, it has grown into a multi billion component of the U.S. economy. Numerous other states, including Colorado, Oregon, and Oklahoma have followed suit and legalized it for medical and recreational applications. Each state has its own set of rules controlling the cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana. In this article, we focus on the seed to sale asset tracking requirement. What is it, and what are its implications for those involved in cannabis business operations like farming/breeding, selling, distribution, manufacturing, or testing? Read on to learn more!

Success in the Commercial Cannabis Industry: The Basics

The marijuana seed-to-sale lifecycle comprises numerous phases and operations that require documenting and monitoring using your state's cannabis tracking system or CTS. A typical grow operation includes stages and activities such as breeding, cultivation, harvest, testing, distribution, and transportation. Manufacturers and dispensaries are also key players in the medical and recreational marijuana supply chain. Factors that enhance the success of legal cannabis grow operations include:

Choosing Between Cannabis Seeds and Clones

You can use either seeds or clones to kickoff your marijuana grow operation. Choose seeds if you require complete control over your crop's growth cycle, which is relatively longer. Alternatively, you can buy clones of the cannabis plant from a breeder to accelerate the growth process. However, cultivating clones comes with a host of challenges like mold or infection.

There are different types of viable cannabis seeds. For example, auto-flowering strains do not depend on light cycles to produce flowers. These are excellent for both outdoor and indoor growing. Regular seeds are okay too, but 50% of these mature into male cannabis plants, which do not flower.

Financing Your Cannabis Business

Mainstream financial institutions have traditionally avoided lending to cannabis-based startups. However, you can turn to private investors for a capital injection. You may need to incorporate your cannabis company to qualify for such a financial investment.

Satisfying Legal Requirements of Your State

Local authorities have been enacting laws to enforce transparency in the legal cannabis industry and enhance the safety of marijuana products in their jurisdictions. That is why your state has regulations for each type of cannabis business, including farms and medical dispensaries. Therefore, start by studying and understanding the relevant state rules. Remember that regulatory compliance is a prerequisite for the licensing of legal cannabis businesses. Licensed traders that violate cannabis regulations can lose their state business licenses as well as suffer hefty penalties.

What are the Regulatory Requirements for Growing, Distributing, Manufacturing, or Selling Cannabis Products?

Over the years, different state regulations have had a vital part in accelerating the growth of the cannabis industry. Such requirements have been getting increasingly stricter from state to state as time goes by. A key implication of these state-specific rules today is that marijuana growers and dealers have to keep better track of their products, plants, or stockpiles.

Also, cannabis security is a crucial requirement for cannabis production in all states. For example, Washington requires growers to deploy an identification system that captures the full legal name and photograph of the authorized person. Operators should also set up video surveillance at grow facilities, dispensaries, point of sale areas, processing areas, and distribution centers. Equally important, cannabis businesses must utilize a comprehensive seed-to-sale product tracking system.

What Seed to Sale Asset Tracking Means in Cannabis-Related Commercial Operations

In the cannabis industry, seed to sale tracking is the intensive monitoring of legal marijuana products or plants to satisfy relevant state regulations and facilitate compliance reporting. Here, regulatory compliance means keeping detailed records of cannabis products or plants along with any changes of form or custody that these plants undergo. It also enables marijuana producers or business operators to keep a close eye on their inventories. This way, they can conveniently show where precisely each plant or end-product has been and where it's heading at any single point in time.

Say you wanted to start compliant cannabis grow operations. Seed-to-sale asset tracking would enable you to log full audit trails and document your entire production process. The system would record and show where you planted, harvested, and sold each plant. State regulators would then be able to look at your data and determine whether you're complying with relevant regulations. The system would also capture any movement of plants from one room to another. If you had multiple grow operations at different locations, a seed-to-sale tracking tool would track each one of those too.

Why Use an Inventory Tracking Solution?

Pen and paper or spreadsheet applications are cumbersome ways to track your cannabis inventory from seed to sale. It gets complicated when you have hundreds of plants to monitor and count. It's also a bit difficult to satisfy state regulations when you're manually tracking stock items that are always on the move.

The good thing about software is that automates the bulk of your cannabis inventory tracking functions and traceability workflows. In turn, it allows you to identify and track each plant over its entire lifecycle, automatically. It also enables users to capture and provide more detailed information about plants or products in real time. Besides helping with regulatory compliance, an inventory tracking tool allows cannabis companies to quantify their stock with ease and better satisfy consumer needs.

How a Seed-to-Sale Cannabis Tracking System Works

Your cannabis tracking system requires two primary components for regulatory compliance. You need a marijuana inventory monitoring solution that plugs into your state's seed-to-sale tracking system. For example, California requires players in the commercial cannabis production or distribution chain to use Metrc software to track and show the movement of their products.

A typical marijuana inventory monitoring system comprises several key components that facilitate compliance reporting and auditing by state regulatory agencies. Important features include:

  • Unique identifiers (UIDs): These are wireless tags attached to each cannabis plant, extract, or product, such as oil, flower, or an edible. They're used to uniquely identify inventory items in cannabis grow operations, distribution facilities, dispensaries, or processing plants.
  • Quick Response (QR) code or barcode scanners: These are mobile devices for scanning the tags on cannabis plants or products to reveal their identity. The tracking system automatically captures the geospatial (location) information of any item it identifies. Users may also update the status of each plant after scanning it.
  • Cloud-based database: All data on tagged cannabis products is transmitted to the cloud in real time. It's available for viewing, analysis, or reporting via a web-based portal.

Choosing a Cannabis Inventory Tracking Solution for Seed-to-Sale Regulatory Compliance

There are many suppliers of asset/product tracking platforms for the cannabis industry. Nonetheless, selecting the right software for regulatory compliance should not be difficult when you have your needs figured out. It helps to consider mission-critical software features or capabilities such as:

1. Compatibility with the State Cannabis Traceability and Tracking System

Find out if your preferred inventory software is compatible with your state's cannabis traceability and tracking system. In other words, there should be a way to stream or transfer your compliance data into the state's monitoring system. Authorities should be able to read your data and determine whether or not you're complying with cannabis traceability rules.

2. Compatibility With Devices

Choose software that's compatible with digital devices readily available for your day-to-day cannabis inventory management tasks. For example, do you prefer to use smartphones or barcode readers to scan the tags on your assets quickly? Be sure the system is compatible with the hardware you're using to automate data entry, save time, and minimize errors.

3. Cloud Availability

Can you deploy the inventory tracking system in the cloud? Such a capability is vital when you're operating multiple cannabis dispensaries or grow operations. With cloud-based software, employees can use mobile devices to scan inventory items and update traceability records from any of your physical facilities. You can also access your cloud-hosted database and generate compliance data at any time.

4. Security

Consider if the software employs adequate data security. You should keep your cannabis business and customer data safe. Critical considerations include encryption and user authentication.

5. Inventory Reports

The software should be able to give the quantity of each stock item at any location on demand. Inventory reports can provide such information any time you want it. It's a lot easier to strategize and maximize sales when you can track or even predict your cannabis inventory levels.

6. Audit Trail

Audit trails are perhaps the most critical features of cannabis inventory tracking systems. As such, your software should have the capability for traceable trails showing where each plant was planted, harvested, transformed (such as in manufacturing), and eventually sold. In this context, full traceability means reporting an unbroken chain of custody, including by linking each product to people (growers, patients, or customers) that handled or bought it.

7. Real-Time Reporting

A web-based data portal with real-time reporting capabilities can help a cannabis business comply with state traceability laws. That's because regulatory authorities can use it to track the transportation or change of custody of legal marijuana products in real time.

8. Loss Tracking

You should track all your cannabis plants or processed products, including those that go missing. Failure to account for lost or recalled products means that you're unable to tell regulatory authorities all there is to know about your cannabis inventory. You may be penalized for this.

Why GoCodes is Ideal for Seed-to-Sale Cannabis Tracking

GoCodes is an industry-leading seed to sale asset tracking solution. It gives legal marijuana growers the ability to track their inventories in compliance with state cannabis traceability rules. The web-based system has the following unique advantages:

· Unique UID for Each Plant

Each plant is assigned a unique global identifier. The UID is linked to the record of every activity, growth phase, transformation, or employee interaction associated with each cannabis plant in your grow operation.

· Water-Resistant QR Code Tags

The solution includes patented QR code labels that stick securely on your plants. These durable, water-resistant tags are ideal for labeling cannabis crops in both indoor and outdoor grow operations.

· Full Audit Logging

GoCodes supports comprehensive audit logging. The system lets you capture and preserve plant-specific records throughout the growth lifecycle. It records details for each plant through the various phases, from cultivation, harvest, and testing to transportation, distribution, and point of sale. The software also uniquely identifies and traces each employee that has interacted with the plants.

· In-Depth Reporting

GoCodes features built-in reporting and analytics capabilities. These facilitate the generation of compliance data on demand for use by regulatory agencies. You may also extract timely stockpile insights and generate sales reports with the software.

· Compatibility With Your State's Seed-to-Sale Cannabis Tracking System

GoCodes is compatible with Metrc—the software that several states are using to implement seed-to-sale cannabis tracking. California, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oregon are some of the jurisdiction in which legal marijuana dispensaries and growers must use Metrc for regulatory compliance and reporting purposes.

· Real-Time Reporting

GoCodes is a web-based platform. It enables you to track and show your cannabis inventory and each of your products' chain of custody in real time.

· Compatibility With Familiar Personal Devices

GoCodes is built to work with smartphones for scanning QR code labels. Such mobile devices are popular among most employees in the modern workplace, and they enhance productivity.

· Easy to Set Up

GoCodes is easy to set up as it requires no on-premise installation. The cloud-based tool lets you get started quickly on cannabis tracking via any device with an internet connection and a web browser.

Conclusion: Inventory Tracking Software Helps With Marijuana Seed-to-Sale Regulatory Compliance

There are numerous regulations that medical and recreational marijuana businesses have to obey to qualify for licensing. One of them is the use of state-recommended cannabis tracking systems. To comply with the relevant regulations as a processor, grower/breeder, or seller/dispensary, you need to incorporate your cannabis inventory system into your state's CTS. This way, you can track and show the movement of your all marijuana plants or products.

Are you looking to start a grow operation in line with your state's marijuana business regulations? At GoCodes, we can help you set up a comprehensive seed to sale asset tracking solution for your compliant cannabis business. Contact us to get started with our best-of-breed cannabis inventory tracking software!