Gone are the days when you had to meet your plug in a shady neighborhood just so they would sell you substandard weed at twice the price. Now, you can buy tested, high-quality cannabis products from cannabis dispensaries without worrying about being duped or arrested. Legalization has revolutionized cannabis distribution and consumption. For the first […]
Gone are the days when you had to meet your plug in a shady neighborhood just so they would sell you substandard weed at twice the price. Now, you can buy tested, high-quality cannabis products from cannabis dispensaries without worrying about being duped or arrested.
Legalization has revolutionized cannabis distribution and consumption. For the first time, we can trust what we’re putting in our bodies. And if you’re in the cannabis industry, you’re probably making decent, if not impressive, earnings.
But, despite all these perks, the black market is still around. Some people are still cutting corners in their cannabis production and distribution networks. For the consumers, this means not getting high-quality cannabis products. And for cannabis regulators, it means losing millions of dollars in uncollected taxes.
To curb this scourge on our economy and general safety, cannabis regulators introduced seed-to-sale tracking systems to monitor cannabis products at each stage of the supply chain down to the final sale. If you’re just hearing about this now, read on to find out everything you need to know about seed-to-sale tracking, from what it is to how it works.
The story of seed-to-sale tracking systems started in 1996 when California legalized medical marijuana through the compassionate use act. As cannabis legality spread to other states, lawmakers had to figure out a way to regulate this new product, which already had its roots deep in the black market.
That’s where licensing came in. Each state devised rules on how it would award licenses for the cultivation and sale of cannabis products. And that’s where seed-to-sale tracking was born. Subsequently, regulators made it mandatory for all cannabis cultivators and distributors to account for every ounce of cannabis product that passed through them.
Now, seed-to-sale tracking allows cannabis regulators, law enforcement, cultivators, distributors, and even the customers themselves to track each cannabis product right from the planted seed, through cultivation, harvesting, and processing, to the moment the customer receives it.
The first seed-to-sale tracking system came to life in 2010 in Colorado. This was after the state created a framework for regulating medical and recreational cannabis cultivation. Subsequently, all other states where cannabis is legal went on to emulate this model.
The Colorado model was quite simple. The state assigned each plant an RFID (radio frequency identification). The plant was then weighed at different stages, right from harvest to the day it got to the dispensary and at the end of each business day at the dispensary.
All these numbers were then sent to a central inventory tracking system, where they were made available to legislators and members of law enforcement.
The primary purpose of implementing this model was to prevent the divergence of cannabis from legalized states to other states where it was still illegal, prevent sales to minors, and ultimately curb the black market.
The system helped regulators monitor the cultivation process, from the moment the seeds were planted to when the products were delivered to the consumer.
At first, seed-to-sale tracking was only made mandatory for medical marijuana cultivators. But the practice has since migrated to recreational marijuana cultivators as well.
Although it started as a pretty simple and somewhat inefficient system, technological advances in IT have birthed powerful software solutions that help players in the cannabis industry keep track of their cultivation and distribution process. These solutions are not only beneficial to the regulators. Cultivators also reap some benefits from the system, especially when it comes to compliance.
A seed-to-sale tracking system requires cultivators to put in more work and expenses to stay compliant. That being said, most cultivators find the system beneficial. So, what makes it better than the good old days when no regulations existed on cannabis cultivation?
For starters, seed-to-sale tracking systems come equipped with tons of features that help growers streamline their cultivation process. A typical seed-to-sale tracking system allows growers to:
Some advanced software solutions even come equipped with biometric technology, making the whole operation more secure. Seed-to-sale tracking doesn’t just end at software. It also includes other non-technical aspects, such as written reports, which are tagged to each plant.
There are numerous seed-to-sale tracking systems available today, and most of them work on a similar principle. Typically, seed-to-sale tracking systems use bar-code labels for containers and physical labels for each plant.
These labels are scanned at each step, right from cultivation to when a consumer buys the product. This means that everything that happens to the plant, no matter how menial, is tracked and monitored.
The system is updated every time a label is scanned. And all information about the plant or product is made available to regulatory bodies, law enforcement, and consumers at all times. If, by any chance, a plant fails to make it to its final maturity stage, it is destroyed, and the act is logged into the system.
Cannabis producers in the black market don’t care to abide by the tracking and testing regulations set forth by cannabis regulators. While you might save a few bucks buying weed from the black market, you put yourself at serious risk.
Take the recent vape crisis, for example. According to the CDC, the untested, counterfeit vape products contained Vitamin E acetate, which causes significant damage to the lungs when heated and inhaled. People died from these counterfeit products.
Seed-to-sale tracking systems ensure strict adherence to tracking and testing regulations. These measures reduce the possibility of contaminated products reaching the consumer.
Although seed-to-sale tracking systems might seem like a bummer for cannabis cultivators who are not willing to put in the work or part with a few extra dollars, they do more good than harm. And not just for the cultivators, consumers and cannabis regulators also benefit from the systems.
As more people adopt seed-to-sale tracking systems in their cannabis businesses, the cannabis black market will soon go out of business. This will leave safe cannabis products that users can trust.