The cannabis industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. It is estimated that it employs more than 300,000 people in Canada alone, and the industry’s worth is expected to exceed $63 billion by 2024.
However, despite being such a lucrative venture, the cannabis industry is barred with numerous compliance issues. Which, if ignored, could lead to hefty fines and, in the worst-case scenario, the loss of business license.
One of the most significant compliance issues in the cannabis industry is seed-to-sale tracking. In an effort to curb the black market and ensure quality and consistency across all cannabis products, legal states have instituted seed-to-sale tracking to track each cannabis plant, right from cultivation to sale.
We already know the importance of a point of sale (POS) system in a cannabis dispensary. But, if your POS isn’t seed-to-sale compliant, then it won’t do you much good when the regulators come knocking.
This article will tell you everything you need to know to choose the best seed-to-sale compliant POS for your cannabis dispensary. We’ll also throw in some useful information to guide your decision-making process. But first, let’s have a look at the role that seed-to-sale tracking software plays in the cannabis industry.
What Is Seed-to-sale Software?
A seed-to-sale software offers an effective way to track and trace all legal cannabis products throughout their life-cycle. These tracking processes allow you to record everything that happens to and around your cannabis business. The software gathers and maintains all data pertaining to growth, distribution, and sale.
Regulators use this data to ensure that cannabis companies and businesses follow all laws and regulations. This includes paying all applicable fees and taxes and tracking potentially contaminated products so they can recall them if necessary.
Who Needs Seed-to-sale Software?
The cannabis industry is one of the most highly regulated sectors globally. As such, any business that handles cannabis must have a robust software solution in its corner. The seed-to-sale supply chain is made up of four major segments, namely:
- Cultivation – This includes farmers who grow and cultivate cannabis plants
- Extraction – This includes companies that extract cannabinoids and other derivatives from the cannabis plant
- Distribution – This includes entities that distribute cannabis products to dispensaries and other retailers
- Retail – These are the dispensaries that sell the product directly to the consumer.
Several auxiliary services like technology companies and testing labs also come into play within these segments. As the product moves through the supply chain, all industry players must effectively track all the products they receive.
Here is a quick breakdown of how each stakeholder uses seed-to-sale tracking software.
Regulators are government agencies, both local and state, that oversee the production and distribution of cannabis products. These agencies ensure that businesses operate within the confines of the law.
Regulators use seed-to-sale tracking software for:
- Paper trail tracking: Seed-to-sale tracking software provides a chain of custody paper trail. It clearly shows the ownership, transfer, and movement of cannabis products across the supply chain.
- Monitor tax compliance: Tracking software enables regulators to keep track of which business is tax compliant and the ones that are flaunting tax regulations.
- Monitor safety and hygiene standards: Seed-to-sale tracking software makes it easier for regulators to ensure that all cannabis producers and distributors adhere to the highest safety and hygiene standards.
- Track botched batches: In the event that certain cannabis products are compromised, the tracking software can accurately pinpoint the botched batch. This allows regulators to recall all affected batches.
Operators in the cannabis industry generally comprise cultivators, extraction companies, distributors, and retailers. They use seed-to-sale tracking software in the following ways:
- Keeping track of important dates in the growth cycle. Cultivators need the following dates to monitor and optimize the growth process:
- Seed acquisition
- Keeping track of various compliance metrics, including:
- Lab testing
- Licensing requirements
- Waste management regulations
- Transportation regulations
- Packaging requirements
- Labeling requirements
- Assigning batch numbers to track each strain independently
- Maximize profits through inventory management
Consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of seed-to-sale tracking software. Although they don’t interact with the systems directly, they still benefit from the software’s quality and safety assurance.
Here’s how consumers benefit from seed-to-sale software:
- Damaged, mishandled, and contaminated products are intercepted before they get to consumers’ hands
- Consumers get first-hand information about the history of the products they purchase. This way, they feel more comfortable knowing the products are safe and reliable.
- Suppose contaminated products reach the market by chance. In that case, you can quickly and effectively recall these products to prevent widespread use of the contaminated products.
Why Do You Need a Seed-to-sale Compliant POS For Your Cannabis Dispensary?
Your reputation, credibility, and validity are at stake if you don’t use a seed-to-sale compliant POS in your cannabis dispensary. Having tracking software in place ensures that all industry players handling your cannabis products maintain compliance with regulations at both municipal and federal levels. Here are a few other reasons why you need a compliant POS in place.
Compliance is vital for any cannabis dispensary. A seed-to-sale compliant POS can help you provide proof of purchase. Moreover, it helps avoid common compliance violations like inventory reporting, sales to minors, patient purchase limits, and inadequate delivery documentation.
These violations can result in severe repercussions. Some of which include citations for violation, compliance notice, revocation of business license, and interim suspension.
To Create More Streamlined Processes and Techniques
Seed-to-sale compliant POS allows you to examine procedures, workflows, and processes. This gives you insights into what’s working and what’s not. They also put you in a better position to determine the processes that can work better.
When you’re dealing with a supply chain as complicated as that of the cannabis industry, knowing the intricate details of your inventory management becomes essential. This helps you manage your stock, track sales, and develop more effective business strategies.
The best POS systems can integrate seamlessly with other hardware and software. This basically means that no matter what direction the market takes in terms of e-commerce or payments. Thus, you’ll always be prepared to handle it.
The ‘green rush’ is at its peak. And competition in the cannabis industry is at an all-time high. So, if you want to make a mark in the industry, you have to up your marketing game. The best POS systems should feature gift cards, loyalty programs, and other marketing tools like social media integration and email campaigns.
The cannabis industry, like any other industry, has its fair share of theft cases. Although POS software won’t completely eradicate your employees’ theft issues, it can make it harder to steal. The software’s ability to track data enables you to notice if something suddenly goes missing from your inventory.
How Do You Choose a Seed-to-sale Compliant POS for Your Cannabis Dispensary?
Compliance and Traceability
The number one burden in the cannabis industry is compliance. A well-executed POS system empowers you to stay compliant at every stage in your business. Although cannabis is legal at the federal level, you are still required to track inventory and sales through a state-mandated traceability system.
Most cannabis-specific POS systems on the market only have varying levels of integration with government tracking systems. Therefore, you should look for a POS system that automatically reports your transactions in real-time. That way, you are better able to minimize human error. And stay fully compliant at all times.
Many cannabis markets also require you to have digital-age verification scanners to scan IDs at the point of entry. You should, therefore, ensure that the POS system you choose to go for has all these functionalities.
Product Design and UX
Product design and user experience play a major role in the system’s usability and efficiency. A well-designed cannabis-specific POS gives you quick access to actual sales. It also facilitates better inventory management.
Additionally, an intuitive and user-friendly system boosts the performance of your employees. You can achieve this by making customer data and product information available to them on the go. The right system can also boost customer experience due to practical service delivery.
Hardware and Software Integration
Integration with other hardware and software plays a significant role in the overall efficiency of your POS system. When you are out shopping for a POS system, consider all the hardware and software used in various parts of your cannabis dispensary. And whether the POS can sync seamlessly with the systems that you already have in place.
Think of it this way. You have to integrate your HR, accounting, workforce, and software solutions with the POS system you purchased to ensure smooth operations.
Moreover, the cannabis industry is one of the fastest evolving industries in the world. This means that new platforms and innovative solutions are hitting the market every other day. Thus, you’ll need a POS that integrates with your current hardware and software. It should also integrate with other online marketplaces. Thus, you can offer seamless pickup and delivery services to your customers.
Scalability and Cost of Ownership
The best POS systems allow you to set up location-level pricing, manage stocks across all stores, and assign granular employee assignment solutions. They also give you full corporate control and visibility. They offer centralized reporting that is typically accessible from anywhere on the globe, on any device.
POS systems built for multi-location brands come equipped with open APIs. This facilitates flexible plug-and-play capabilities for easy scalability. Therefore, you should choose a POS that is both cannabis-centred and is capable of growing with you. In most cases, you might have to pay a bit more upfront. But the long-term benefits from the ROI can reduce your overall cost of ownership.
Product Development and Support
Industry leaders in cannabis-specific POS systems will always be at the forefront of the latest developments. They will also regularly update their products to stay ahead of regulatory changes.
Therefore, before you set your mind on any particular POS system, find out all you can about the company’s after-sale customer support. Some companies help you set up quickly. Only to disappear when issues arise, leaving you to tackle software glitches on your own. You should also choose a cannabis-specific POS system specializing in your operation area instead of an all-in-one solution.
How to Make the Most of Your Seed-to-sale Compliant POS
Like with any other new technology in the workplace, every employee handling the seed-to-sale compliant POS must receive thorough training. The training should include hands-on training from your software provider for maximum effectiveness. So before purchasing POS software, check whether your provider offers ongoing training to your current and future employees.
You should establish process maps to ensure easy training, consistent data entry, and accessibility. The documentation provided by your software provider is typically great for basic how-to information. It is quite generic to functionality.
Therefore, keeping your company’s updated documentation that includes operating procedures and best practices ensures that information is not lost when you lose an employee. This way, information can be easily shared with all new employees.
At its core, your seed-to-sale compliant POS system should house all your business’s critical functionality. Integrations come in pretty handy as add-ons. But they’re not quite as reliable when it comes to business activities.
Standard cannabis operations like cultivation, processing, retail, and inventory should be built at the core of your POS system. POS systems with built-in ERPs feature standard seed-to-sale functionality and a built-in financial system. It also gives you the ability to customize the system based on your unique requirements.
The Bottom Line
As a cannabis dispensary owner, compliance should be at the core of all your business activities. With an excellent seed-to-sale compliant POS, you can be sure to stay on the right side of the law. Moreover, it will help maximize profits and customer satisfaction.