Seed-to-sale refers to the life cycle of a plant from the time the seed is planted until the final product is sold to the customer.
In the cannabis industry, seed-to-sale usually refers to a comprehensive tracking system used mostly by cultivators and producers but also sometimes required by regulators to ensure legal cannabis products are not diverted into illegal markets and vice versa. Using a seed-to-sale tracking system is a good way for legal cannabis businesses to demonstrate their desire to comply with applicable laws.
How does seed-to-sale tracking work?
There are a few ways seed-to-sale tracking comes into play.
- Cultivation: In between the planting of the seed and the final sale to a customer, growers keep track of plant growth, fertilizers and other nutrients, water, and sometimes lighting. To do this, they use tags encoded with information and attached to cannabis plants along with tag scanners and digital software. Tracking all this data and comparing yields allows growers to improve cultivation outcomes and efficiency.
- Productivity: Concentrate producers may also use adhesive tags attached to packages, scanners, and seed-to-sale tracking software to monitor productivity and the potency of various strains. The system is also used for transportation and distribution, providing a wealth of data from the time a seed goes into the ground until a customer takes home a plant, dried bud, or other product from a dispensary.
- Compliance: Licensed cannabis growers use this technology not only to keep detailed records but also to remain compliant within their state or country's laws since the information contained on plant and product tags is scanned at every step along the way.
What does “track and trace” mean?
While some regulators require access to various data points in a seed-to-sale monitoring system, another tracking method called track and trace is far more common for regulatory purposes. It doesn't provide all the efficiency information that's useful to cultivators and producers, but it does give regulators a way to assure integrity in the legal cannabis supply chain, prevent illegal cannabis diversion, and to issue recalls for any tainted products.