February 7, 2023
 min read

What exactly is the purpose of Seed-to-Sale software?

It is imperative that all parties involved in the reporting process are heard and included in the design and development of a solution. Operators should not be forced

Seed-to-Sale software was created to make it easier for regulators to enforce the collection of compliance information from operators.

I meet with operators inside and outside the US cannabis industry often, and I see a huge difference in the way each market manages their compliance.

I'll start by laying out the current state of play in the US as simply as possible (feel free to correct me if I have it wrong):

  • States set their own regulations for cannabis operators to follow
  • The state then puts out a tender for a Seed-to-Sale software to manage the regulations

Here's where things get tricky.

We've spoken with regulators and operators across the US, and the Seed-to-Sale software that is being forced on operators isn't just collecting metrics to keep them compliant, it's also enforcing an illogical operational process on them to deliver these metrics.

At the start of the legal market, of course state officials wanted to be able to track what was happening in operations to prevent illicit trade. But as time has passed, and operators have improved their processes, this approach has become obsolete.

My first question is, who does Seed-to-Sale serve? Operators or regulators?

In this case, the operator is not the target audience for seed-to-sale software; it is designed for regulators.

In my experience as a tech founder, it is extremely difficult to create a product without considering how it affects every stakeholder. But it’s critical to the design and the outcome that is being delivered. This is where I’m confused - and I’m taking a very pragmatic approach to problem solving here - wouldn't it be more beneficial for the industry to work with a solution that benefits all parties i.e. the State regulators, operators and consumers?

Now that 2023 is here, we've been looking at what others around the globe are doing. Other countries follow GMP guidelines to keep track of the information operators are supposed to report. Operators can manage their production and processes however they want, but they know when and what activities they have to report on. I also see issues in the way some countries enforce this approach, but I will break that down in another post.

In the US, some states only require operators to submit a relatively small amount of data in order to remain legal, which seems illogical given the complex process that BioTrack and Metrc places on operators to collect these metrics. Furthermore, operators are forced to work in a way that makes no sense when using either of these systems.

In the future, how can US cannabis regulation reporting be improved? (I am open to a discussion on these as well)

  1. It is imperative that all parties involved in the reporting process are heard and included in the design and development of a solution. Operators should not be forced into an operational process that hasn't been proven to work. Instead, focus on a solution about how the collection of regulatory data should be conducted, and its purpose.
  2. Rather than relying solely on Seed-to-Sale, and replicating what already exists, states should consider tenders for alternative solutions. The best solution will demonstrate how it will evolve over time to fit the industry's needs and demonstrate that all stakeholders have been involved in the development process.
  3. From my POV, it’s as simple as an API being developed for the state. The structure can be simplified, enabling better monthly reporting on data by the operator. Operators can upload their information into a portal that the authorities can access to automate a simple approval process.

I'm hopeful that if I keep advocating for alternative tech solutions, we will eventually see positive results impacting the US cannabis industry.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you're interested in how Blakthumb can help you solve your biggest issues in operations, check out our website.


#cannabiscommunity #cannabisindustry #cannabistech #seedtosale #startups #productdesign #womenintech #blakthumb #blakthumbOS #helpyourbud

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