While the Los Angeles Times has called seed-to-sale cannabis tracking the “future of pot production,” the reality is that seed-to-sale tracking is already here, and it is already working wonders for both commercial users (licensed producers and distributors needing to manage their inventory), as well as government entities charged with tracking product from seed-to-sale and overseeing regulatory compliance in their state.
Effective seed-to-sale tracking benefits consumers since it increases transparency across all levels of the supply chain, ensuring accountability from growers, processors, and product producers. For instance, if a batch sample fails inspection, the regulators and producers know to pull that product from circulation and reduce the chances that consumers will be exposed to pesticides, molds, or other harmful contaminants.
To give us more insight as to how these systems are architected and deployed in the cannabis industry, we spoke to Patrick Vo, Chief Executive Officer at BioTrackTHC (a subsidiary of Helix TCS Inc. (OTC:HLIX), the pioneers of enterprise-grade seed-to-sale tracking software for the cannabis industry.
Why Governments Need Seed-to-Sale Tracking
In order to assist state and local governments with enforcing regulations, collecting taxes and preventing illegal cannabis diversion and inversion, seed-to-sale software has to track every gram of legal cannabis throughout the production lifecycle.
Without this software in place, state and local governments would not feel comfortable having a cannabis industry in their jurisdiction. This level of scrutiny and traceability is present throughout the rest of the pharmaceutical industry, so why would medical marijuana be any different?
In fact, BioTrackTHC started from the medical software industry, where the technology was originally developed as a prescription drug and methamphetamine precursor tracking system to assist state government and law enforcement agencies in preventing drug diversion and promoting public safety. Today, BioTrackTHC holds the government contract for 9 different states with legalized cannabis, ensuring that licensed cannabis businesses in these districts are fully compliant.
7 Compliance Stages of the Seed-to-Sale Lifecycle
While every seed-to-sale software is unique, this article is based off of industry-leader BioTrackTHC. Since BioTrackTHC has been trusted to track over 11,000,000 plants from over 2,000 clients across 32 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Canada, and Australia, it is clear that its platform has proven to be truly scalable throughout the industry’s various geographic regions and regulatory frameworks.
- Cultivation: Upon propagation, each plant or clone is assigned a globally unique 16 digit identifier. This identifier records and archives plant phases, additives and employee interactions to ensure accountability and adhere to regulations during the plants’ maturation.
- Harvest: 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.
- Testing: Cannabis and cannabis derivatives are then tested for chemicals, contaminants, and other harmful additives prior to entering the marketplace. Test results, including potency, are automatically assigned and printed on product labels.
- Transportation: A detailed manifest must be completed prior to transporting cannabis. The manifest displays the shipments’ origin, a detailed contents list including quantity, destination and driver credentials, displaying the entire chain of custody. Manifest reports are available for law enforcement in real-time.
- Point-of-Sale: In addition to linking products to plant origin, each sale is tracked to the patient or customer. This completes the unbroken chain of custody from seed-to-sale.
- Patient Identification and Verification: The Traceability System generates a unique ID number for every patient, and can also integrate with hardware for patient ID card printing. Patient information and sales limitations are easily validated in real-time.
- 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.
How Cultivators Can Benefit from Seed-to-Sale Software
Seed-to-sale software isn’t just useful for the government agencies responsible for keeping the cannabis industry compliant. The long list of cultivators that use seed-to-sale software for supply chain management and optimization shows that it can be even more useful for them than it is for government agencies, providing them with real-time insights into their yields, nutrients, harvests and more.
Given the high price per pound for quality cannabis, small cultivation optimization insights can often lead to big boosts in profit. For instance, by closely monitoring the usage of nutrients on your cannabis crops, cultivators can look to see when marginal returns start to diminish. This can not only optimize plant yields over time but also save a lot of money over time. After all, if the largest agricultural companies in the world are using similar technologies to increase yields, it is probably worth a try for cannabis cultivators.
Some of the major benefits of cannabis cultivators using seed-to-sale software is:
- Yield Forecasting: Monitor and analyze your harvest data to optimize for larger yields.
- Genealogy Tracking: Record and track cross-breeding, plant genetics and monitor clone potency results.
- Built for Growers: Custom workflows to support the weighing of multiple plant by-products (wet or dry), plus multiple data collection points and ability to grade product quality upon curing.
- Analyze Your Results: Monitor pesticides and nutrients applied, log strain notes detailing light and watering cycles, plus review past harvest data to optimize your future yields.
How Manufacturers and Processors Can Benefit from Seed-to-Sale Software
As consumer demand for extracts, edibles, and other non-traditional preparations of cannabis continue to skyrocket, more and more cannabis product manufacturers and processors are popping up.
Seed-to-sale software helps these processors and product manufacturers with more than just staying compliant, it also helps with labeling, inventory management and more:
- Conversion Tracking: Want to convert flower into oil? Oil into edibles? Convert products into single or multiple by-products, while maintaining a complete chain of custody, logging cost per gram calculations and product notifications or recalls.
- Transactional Reports: Easily generate invoices and purchase orders for record keeping and safe, compliant business practices.
- Transport Manifests: Create, submit, and store compliant transportation manifests noting vehicle, driver, and cargo contained for regulatory review.
- Product Details: Add several product details to your inventory items, printing key information directly on your labels including ingredients, potency results, plus a reactive expiration date that can lock a product if it’s past expiration, and much more.
How Retailers Can Benefit from Seed-to-Sale Software
Both retail and medical marijuana retailers can benefit from seed-to-sale technologies and the real-time insights they provide, especially given the rapidly changing cannabis consumer trends and the complexities that come with serving such a wide customer base. By identifying sales trends early, dispensaries can optimize their inventory – and profits – along with way. The best part is, hardware integrations virtually eliminate human error and minimize manual data entry, improving the bottom line for retailers of all sizes.
Trying to turn customer identification data into valuable demographics insight? No problem, because BioTrackTHC does that and more:
- Automated Discounts and Loyalty Programs: Set up discounts based on date, time, product, brand and more, plus employee weigh heavy and daily discount allowances. Reward the loyal customers with our exclusive loyalty points program or reward them with certain products/promotions. Setup is a cinch.
- Purchase Limits: Compliance can be stressful which is why we make sure you never over dispense to a patient or customer. The system tracks limits based on type and equivalency.
- Online Ordering, Menu Displays: New features like fully integrated online ordering portals, digital menu displays and more, are now available thanks to BioTrackTHC’s integration with DataOwl.
- Data-Driven CRM: Out-of-the-Box Customer Relationship Management tools to reward loyal customers and referrals. Setup targeted email and text campaigns based on customer’s favorite products, last visit date, purchase history, birthdays and more.
- Automated Data Entry: Eliminate data entry and human error with integrated hardware that populates metrics right on your screen. Weigh directly into the computer, scan patient ID’s and populate customer profiles, with a single action.
- Customer Profiles: Create individual customer profiles to help treat all of your customers like regulars. Keep track of special preferences, medical preferences, purchase history, rewards points and more.
The Future of Seed-to-Sale
No one can be sure what is coming in the rapidly evolving world of seed-to-sale tracking. As the cannabis industry goes global, and marijuana production is pushed to an even larger scale, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the future of seed-to-sale software include other modern technologies and additional data integrations.
From much-needed data integrations like electricity usage tracking to high-tech add-ons like artificial intelligence-based recommendations, there are dozens of future features to look forward to. The only thing we know for sure is that the future of seed-to-sale technology looks bright.
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