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What is track and trace in cannabis and why should you care?

The Rise of Cannabis Track and Trace

As cannabis operators well know, track and trace refers to the system whereby enforcers trace the product of operators through its various stages, from cultivation to manufacturing all the way through to its sale at a licensed retail dispensary. Though well known in a respect, there are also some important misconceptions about track and trace you should be aware of, including the fact that a state’s mandated track and trace platform–Biotrack, for instance, in the state of New York–is a state enforcement tool that does not require you to adopt Biotrack’s commercial software in order to be compliant. In fact, as most experienced operators will tell you, whether Metrc or Biotrack, state track and systems tend to be difficult to navigate, employing software years behind the best modern options.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few insider tricks for navigating Metrc and Biotrack, as well as what software you can adopt to streamlining your track and trace syncing and your operations more broadly.

Understanding Cannabis Traceability 

It’s important to recognize that cannabis is not the only product traced across a supply chain. In the event of a salmonella outbreak, for example, we need to be able to trace lettuce down a supply chain to the outbreak’s source, just as a contaminated growth site would pose a safety risk for cannabis consumers. Cannabis is only unique from the average supply chain product in the complexity of its traceability, which comes down, in part, to it being a newly legalized and newly regulated product. This is why states go the extra step of mandating a universal track and trace platform. Traceability is also important insofar as it aids enforcement, keeping regulated product in and unregulated produced out of the market. Lastly, track and trace ensures the state has access to inventory beyond a company’s reported records, helping avoid major issues in the case of tax discrepancies. 

How to Leverage Traceability Requirements for your own Benefit

Because the government requires so much data of you, imposing a cost on your time and effort, an opportunity arises to turn that effort to your own benefit. Both Biotrack and Metrc are built primarily for enforcement purposes, and don’t offer a report history on data that would be useful to you. What you want, then, is a general cannabis platform capable of syncing with Biotrack and Metrc that makes the data they require available to you, for your own purposes. Very good cannabis general software can reduce the research entailed in excavating quarterly or yearly data by over half the time, which is significant.

Streamline your Syncing

Compliance with state-selected track and trace platforms ensures you avoid the fines, sanctions, and other penalties associated with compliance failures. Serious compliance failures can jeopardize the livelihood of your operation, but the emphasis for cannabis operators is not whether or not to comply-but how to do it in such a way as to maximize efficiency. Generally speaking, the less time you spend on track and trace compliance, the better. States like New York have required cannabis companies to select a third party operatory capable of syncing with their chosen platform, Biotrack, and ease of syncing has become an important expected feature of cannabis general software. Since track and trace implementation varies state to state, good general software manages to be adaptable to a variety of guidelines, whatever they may be. All signs point to increasing automation on all aspects of compliance, whether labeling or track and trace, and the syncing and labeling capacities of software are often considered worth the price alone. Keep in mind, though, that some software is more capable of syncing–more smoothly and with less effort on your end–than others. Although track and trace platforms offer a commercial option, keep in mind that this is an elective, non-mandatory offering, and one you should consider only relative to the broader market. 

Safety, Consumer Confidence, and Investor Confidence

Beyond compliance and syncing features, the traceability offering of commercial software companies can make your process transparent to both consumers and investors, boosting confidence in your product. Because they are built for your use, as opposed to the state’s, the traceability features of commercial software are user-friendly, with features enabling you to call up old or current data with relative ease. Again, it’s worth emphasizing that general cannabis software can turn the burdens of track and trace compliance into a useful tool, to be leveraged for your advantage. Beyond that, being able to locate a product at any given time expedites trouble-shooting, in the case of contamination, for instance, so that you can pinpoint and correct the problem before it gets too much worse, which is an important aspect of branding and reputation management. Impeccable records often equate to investor confidence and therefore the willingness to invest. And, lastly, real-time monitoring facilitates projecting forward with the best, to-the-minute data available.

Track and Trace Across the States

As multi-state operators will know, enforcement regulations vary locally, from state to state. This map shows which cannabis traceability software is required in which states. Notice how it’s commonplace for neighboring states to require different track and trace platforms. So for multi-state operators, even if you have Biotrack syncing down, you still have to comply with Metrc, and vice versa. Again, the sheer difficulty of the process points to the universal movement towards cannabis software that covers all of distribution, cultivation, and retail as the most efficient solution for compliance.

Invest in Software that offers easy Track and Trace Syncing and more

Flourish is a general software company that delivers easy, efficient track and trace syncing, as well as modern solutions to your needs. Flourish can help you reduce the research time it takes to look up track and trace data by 80%, as one example of their promise to help you streamline operations. For more information about Flourish and how it can help you optimize your cannabis company into the future, click here.

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