In less than three decades since California first legalized medical marijuana, the cannabis industry has come a long way with many other states following suit. Because the industry has grown at such an exponential rate, it has quickly moved from operating in a largely unregulated environment to becoming one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. Today, there is a myriad of federal bodies all looking to improve and safeguard consumer safety as far as the cannabis industry is concerned.
Over time, these regulatory bodies, which include the likes of OSHA and the FCC, have all come up with a set of laws and regulations that now govern the industry. These laws and regulations are not mere suggestions as to how the industry should run and how the players within it should behave. They are highly binding instructions that are enforceable by law. In fact, flaunting any of these regulations could lead to heavy fines or even the suspension of your legal marijuana trading license. It’s through these regulations and the systems put in place that the government can keep track of the inventory in what was once a very shadowy industry operating on the fringes of society.
This situation has led to the development of highly sophisticated systems in the form of seed to sale tracking software. These systems allow both the industry business owner and the regulatory bodies to remain in constant touch and all but guarantee compliance.
What is Seed to Sale Tracking Software?
What is seed to sale tracking? The simple answer is it’s the highly intensive monitoring that goes on in the cannabis industry to satisfy regulatory guidelines or legislations and ensure compliance. The term is also used to refer to the highly sophisticated systems put in place to ensure this happens in an efficient and verifiable manner. These systems come in the form of different software that needs to be deployed within every cannabis business premise.
Generally speaking, the best seed to sale tracking software is a form of an inventory system that regulators can use to track important aspects of the cannabis industry such as cultivation, processing, transportation, and sales.
The idea behind seed to sale tracking is to ensure that there are strict inventory control measures in place from the moment a seed is put in the ground to the time it hits the shelves as a final product and gets sold to the customer. Regulators want to keep a close tab on every single ounce of cannabis produced and sold in each of the states that have legalized its use.
This kind of tracking, although now streamlined by sophisticated seed to sale software, is often ensured by many redundancies such as written records, barcoded containers, and state-approved labels.
The beauty of using software is that it’s the kind of system that can be monitored in real-time by both the business owner as well as the regulatory bodies interested in ensuring compliance.
There are many companies that have developed an assortment of highly sophisticated seed to sale tracking systems now throughout the U.S. Many of these systems are often based on an old, tried and tested methods of tracking used by pharmaceutical companies to keep tabs on their own products, some of which are just as heavily regulated as cannabis.
While it’s true that many of these systems have borrowed heavily from the pharmaceutical industry, many have been built from the ground up to specifically for the cannabis industry. These systems provide a single database that every stakeholder, including cultivators, transporters, processors, dispensaries, and regulators can use to get a comprehensive timeline of every single ounce of medical marijuana grown and sold to consumers.
The thing about this software is that it incorporates a lot of other aspects that all play a role in ensuring compliance as well as efficiency in the cannabis industry. Some of the additional inclusions come in the form of things such as:
- Physical labeling capabilities: This keeps track of every plant and container. It includes barcodes or a different form of unique marker that remains with that single plant throughout the entirety of its production chain. This makes for efficient tracking as the barcode or unique marker is scanned at every step of the plants’ journey. That data is updated to the system.
- Biometric technology: This is included in some of the more advanced systems and is a crucial part of ensuring security. The need for this is twofold. First, strict regulatory laws insist that only rightful consumers get the end marijuana product and, second, business owners need a way to restrict access to their inventory to prevent theft and product misuse. Since the marijuana industry was illegal for such a long time, it only makes sense that some of the shady behavior may continue by diverting inventory through illegal channels to sell to minors as well as other unqualified users. Biometric technology makes this difficult.
- Customization modules: every advanced software needs to allow for some level of customization. This is mostly because not every single dispensary or business owner in the cannabis industry plays to the same tune or business plan. The best seed to sale software realizes this and gives the users options to customize some key aspects of the system according to their specific needs. Some even allow the user to integrate results from tools like cultivator scales to keep track of every ounce and testing results to keep track of all the necessary data for compliance as well as posterity. There are a host of other bits of information that are pertinent to specific strains and potencies as well.
As complicated as this might sound, these systems are designed to be easy to use. The best ones have extremely user-friendly platforms and interfaces that don’t take that much time to learn.
How to take Advantage of and Use Seed to Sale Tracking in Your Marijuana Business
The best and simplest way to make good use of seed and sale tracking software is to start by finding the right one and having it integrated into your entire operation.
The idea behind these highly sophisticated and often complicated systems is simplification. The right seed to sale software simplifies and streamlines your entire operation, making it easy for you to have a complete and thorough overview of the entire business on one dashboard. Here are some ways and areas through which you can make good use of seed to sale tracking software in your cannabis business:
Keep Your Business Connected to METRC for Compliance
Every state that has legalized the sale and use of marijuana has a preferred inventory management solution that every cannabis stakeholder within that state must use for compliance purposes. For the most part, this federally approved platform is METRC but there are several others. It’s basically a single platform where the various cannabis dispensaries and the governing bodies that oversee and enforce their compliance with regulations come to meet and share pertinent information or data.
To stay compliant, you have to have seed to sale software that not only collects all the necessary data and provides the required history for all your products but also keeps you connected to these federally approved inventory management solutions like METRC. While it is true that you could use METRC as your seed to sale tracking solution, the truth is that there are many others out there that offer better scalability and customization. The idea is to find one that works for you all the while keeping you connected to METRC and helping you stay compliant.
The cannabis industry is taking off and becoming a huge moneymaker. The truth is that weed has always been a big-money business but it was illegal in most states for a long time. Since it’s legalization, it’s projected to be a $66 billion industry by 2025. That kind of money attracts all kinds of unscrupulous people as evidenced by the recent hack into the MJ Freeway databases which affected more than 1,000 retailers, some of whom had to shut down their operations until full secure service was restored.
Apart from valuable data that is necessary for compliance, there are other security issues that every business owner in the cannabis industry must pay close attention to, namely accountability for their inventory. Not everyone who has access to your inventory wants to do the right thing. Some people want to sneak out a few ounces for personal use or to sell it on the side.
The biggest problem with this isn’t that you are losing inventory and therefore income but that you could suffer dire consequences should you be unable to account for those lost ounces when the regulators come knocking.
Make Good Use of Reporting and Analytics
We have already covered why and how reporting comes in handy as far as compliance is concerned. What we haven’t mentioned yet is that you need transparent reporting for more than just compliance. You will also need it to win over investors as well as stay on the right side of the IRS. The marijuana industry is very unique in that it’s mainly a cash-only industry. As such, investors can’t rely on your word that your business is a good investment. They can, however, rely on the records from your POS or your seed to sale tracking reporting functions.
On the other hand, analytics drive your future plans. The best seed to sale systems have highly sophisticated and very detailed analytics that show you all kinds of data associated with the entire process. You can pick out a single strain or batch of weed and follow it all the way back to when it was only a bunch of seeds. Through the data collected throughout that batch’s production chain, you can see what actions affected the end result and manipulate that information come up with better yields and thus better income.
Achieve Customer Retention
Most seed to sale tracking systems have some kind of CRM integrated into the system. Even if it isn’t a fully-fledged CRM, you can still use your POS to help you retain customers. By keeping their information handy and knowing exactly what your customers need, you can ensure that you are always fully stocked or even introduce them to newer strains to make sure that you are going the extra mile to deliver and surplus their expectations.
The right seed to sale tracking software is the perfect tool to help you scale your cannabis business and build it into an empire if you use it right.