Take these simple steps to prepare for seed-to-sale tracking
By Alen Nguyen
Oregon has begun the licensing process for various cannabis businesses allowed under Measure 91, which means growers and retailers will have to familiarize themselves with seed-to-sale tracking. Businesses ranging from cultivators to retailers began submitting applications on Jan. 4; within the first week, about 500 applications had been submitted. This is a monumental step toward becoming a regulated industry, which poses many challenges that are new and perhaps intimidating.
In looking at hundreds of newly licensed cannabis businesses and their traceability systems, we’ve gathered a few pieces of advice to share with readers, particularly those getting ready to go through the licensing process.
– Read the rules: This may seem obvious, but it is probably the most important part of your planning. The rules that are published early on are not exactly the best at defining the requirements; more specifically, the initial rules don’t clearly define how they impact your business operations, or what it takes to be compliant with state requirements. It varies from state to state, but the penalties for not being compliant are far more substantial than a speeding ticket. Companies have been fined upwards of $15,000 in Washington for rule violations. Get a couple of those and you can find yourself in trouble really quick, and even possibly lose your license.
– Adjust your business operations: It is important to read the requirements, as vague as they are, to get an idea of how and when you will need to interact with the traceability system.
Many business owners design their facility layout based on grow efficiency. This would be great if we weren’t operating in a highly regulated market. But given the strict nature of regulations, businesses must make accommodations for traceability and other requirements before banging hammers and putting up walls.
– Select a traceability provider: Here’s a look at some of the more important questions to consider when deciding what tracking software provider to use:
Does the software provider have training support available to companies that are ramping up to start operations? As traceability is new to everyone in this industry, there is definitely a learning curve that comes with any tracking software. Having a software provider that offers support will certainly help businesses run more smoothly from the start.
How big of an existing client base does the software provider have? There have been several new software providers that pop up and over-promise a solution to the customer, but when it’s time to go live, their system isn’t compliant and doesn’t work with the state. Make sure to vet potential providers by asking if other companies in your respective state are using their software currently, and also by talking with these businesses about the software and provider.
Alen Nguyen is the CEO of Green Thumb Industries, a B2B distribution company for the cannabis industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.