You must track every single plant - that is the sentiment the US state governing authorities have on legal cannabis businesses. The scrutiny of cannabis legislation has developed state mandated track-and-trace & seed-to-sale systems. The most common government required track-and-trace system is Metrc. However, this no-frills government software doesn’t provide the services to run your cultivation operations. That is the value of seed-to-sale software which helps cannabis cultivators operate their business while remaining compliant with the local government regulations.


Definition of Seed-to-sale Software: A computer application utilized for plant tracking from the initial growth to the final sale or cannabis products. This also includes: inventory control, sales & CRM processes, business intelligence reporting, and compliance monitoring and government data submissions. 


In this industry there several terms used synonymously for these software solutions: Seed-to-sale vs. Track-and-trace vs. ERP. All three of these terms broadly describe the same things with subtle differences. 

Track-and-trace - This usually refers to the tracking of cannabis products through the life-cycle of the plants or the creation and distribution of cannabis products. The Metrc system is an example of a track-and-trace system. 

Seed-to-Sale - This refers to a system encompassing the features of track-and-trace and other business functions included in most common ERPs. 

ERP (Enterprise resource planner) - These are often used by large businesses that have a single system to run their business operations including finance, accounting, CRM, and other reporting features. By definition, a seed-to-sale system is a mini-erp with more focus on the cultivation operations and government reporting.  

Seed-to-sale systems track a variety of things through the entire process including data around the following processes for cannabis companies:

  • Growing & Cultivating - Tracking the phases of the plant life-cycle so inspection authorities can identify each plant in a specific growth phase (immature, vegitative, or flowering).
  • Harvest - Capturing the weights of harvested plants and evaluating yield metrics.
  • Packaging - Creating packages in accordance to state regulations and tracking inventory availability. 
  • Testing - Tracking testing results with associated packages in accordance with state regulations.
  • Transportation - Providing the information to create manifests and transportation documentation. 
  • Tracking & Analytics - The ability to submit state required information and retrieve important data to analyze the health of the cannabis business in terms of sales and yields. 

What makes a good seed-to-sale system?

  • User friendly and easy to use
  • Integrated with barcode tracking
  • Seemless integration with state systems. 
  • Integrations with other devices: Smartphones & tablets, bluetooth scales, scanners for barcodes & RFID tags.
  • Quality Reporting & Analytics to help you determine revenue by weight and strain analytics
  • Sales order management & other ERP functionalities

How do you choose the right seed-to-sale system?


Some factors in your decision should be: 

  • The type of cannabis business. Are the needs to the business for a cultivator, manufacturer/processor, distributor, or other cannabis business. 

Size of operation:

  • How large is the operation and what is the staff head-count. Management controls are needed at a certain scale and a lean operation will prefer a more simplistic application.

Necessary features: 

  • Many features of seed-to-sale systems can super-charge the operations workflows but not all systems are alike and some systems require more data entry than others. Find the right balance of automation and data requirements.

Check out our in depth section article on seed to sale

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