Compliance in cannabis is a constantly evolving process that doesn’t end once you obtain your proper licensing. Instead, it's the one piece of maintenance that your business relies on. Each state has different compliance requirements that pertain to wholesale purchasing procedures and consumer purchasing limits.
It can be tricky to stay on top of the fluctuating changes and policies, but being proactive about compliance is still your best bet when opening or maintaining a cannabis retail store.
Because the mainstream cannabis industry is relatively new, states are cautious in their approach to legislation. Growing, processing, and selling cannabis is highly regulated, and only a few other industries deal with similar restrictions—which is why compliance plays an essential part in keeping your recreational license valid.
Seed-to-sale tracking (which we'll discuss more below) is a big part of adhering to your state’s compliance regulations. Tracking seed-to-sale allows public officials to:
While it’s essential for states to monitor how recreational cannabis is bought and sold, the compliance process doesn’t only benefit regulators—it acts as a safeguard that protects your operation from theft, lawsuits, security incidents, and more.
Even so, it remains a sore spot for retailers. In order to be (and stay) compliant, they’ll need systems that track the cannabis products constantly moving in and out of their store.
Seed-to-sale tracking (also called track-and-trace) refers to the process of following a cannabis plant from germination, to harvest, to the final product sold to a customer.
When a state approves recreational cannabis, regulators will follow suit and introduce a seed-to-sale tracking system. This means growers and retailers assume full responsibility for charting a plant’s entire lifecycle, from the moment it’s planted until the final product is packaged and sold.
As a cannabis dispensary operator, tracking and managing your inventory is arguably the most important piece of the compliance puzzle—but the process is a lot more complicated than meets the eye. After all, a cannabis plant is not sold on its own; a single plant is often broken up and used in separate products, and different plants can be combined to produce edibles. Complexities aside, seed-to-sale tracking means you’re under strict obligation to report exactly how much of each plant you’ve bought and sold.
Once you’re approved for a recreational license, you’ll be given traceability credentials to purchase the tags you’ll need to track each regulated product.
However, your journey doesn’t end with traceability credentials. Besides recording seed-to-sale data for every product you buy and sell, you’ll also be required to submit these records to your state’s reporting system on a daily basis. This process can be slow and inefficient, but the right software solution will save you time and headaches.
For example, Dutchie POS automates this process for you by integrating with government seed-to-sale systems. This is done through a software interface known as an API (Application Programming Interface), which has been proven to save hours of manual and error-prone reporting. For vertically-integrated dispensaries who produce their own supply, our Point of Sale also accounts for full seed-to-sale cultivation tracking.
Most states manage compliance regulations through government-contracted software systems, such as Metrc or BioTrack. In order to stay compliant, recreational stores are expected to submit information on the products they’ve sold into these systems. Canada doesn't require a seed-to-sale tracking system. Instead, retailers report their monthly sales manually and send the findings to their provincial regulators.
The two largest seed-to-sale systems, endorsed by states throughout the US are Metrc and BioTrack.
Metrc is unique in the sense that it only offers government-facing tracking programs, as opposed to solutions for retailers. Metrc is used by Alaska, California, Colorado, DC, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and West Virginia.
BioTrack supports private and government sectors that serve medical and recreational states like Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Virginia, New Mexico, and more.
Entering information into these systems on a daily basis can be monotonous and time-consuming. That’s why most recreational retailers choose a point of sale (POS) software built specifically for cannabis retailers. Dutchie offers cannabis- centric POS solutions that automatically record this compliance information and report it to the state’s traceability system.
Dutchie is a top-level integrator with both Metrc and BioTrack, and our legal team checks in with them often to stay on top of regulations changes in each of these states.
In every state that’s allowed recreational sales, these rules—and the consequences for breaking them—can be exceedingly strict. If your store is not compliant, you may face fines, fees, and the potential to lose your business. Don’t put your business in danger.
Our clients have reported surprise drop-ins from government inspectors. They make sure cannabis retailers’ security cameras are up and running, and all disclaimers are easy to read. They’ll also check customers’ IDs to confirm they’re legitimate and unexpired. If retailers aren’t compliant, they can get written up, reprimanded with points, or even shut down. Compliance is the key to keeping dispensaries running smoothly. To safeguard your business, consider implementing compliant tools like Dutchie POS or our Ecommerce for online sales. With automatic reporting, seed-to-sale tracking becomes much simpler.
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