Cannabis From Seed To Sale


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Learn about seed to sale, what it includes, and why seed-to-sale tracking is important. Seed to Sale tracking is required for cannabis operators in legal markets. Understand what seed to sale means for your business and how to navigate seed to sale reporting. Seed-to-sale is a computer program that documents and tracks cannabis from a plant form to a product on a dispensary shelf. Learn more about seed-to-sale from Leafly.


Seed-to-sale refers to the life cycle of a plant from the time the seed is planted until the final product is sold to the customer.

In the cannabis industry, seed-to-sale usually refers to a comprehensive tracking system used mostly by cultivators and producers but also sometimes required by regulators to ensure legal cannabis products are not diverted into illegal markets and vice versa. Using a seed-to-sale tracking system is a good way for legal cannabis businesses to demonstrate their desire to comply with applicable laws.

How does seed-to-sale tracking work?

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There are a few ways seed-to-sale tracking comes into play.

  • Cultivation: In between the planting of the seed and the final sale to a customer, growers keep track of plant growth, fertilizers and other nutrients, water, and sometimes lighting. To do this, they use tags encoded with information and attached to cannabis plants along with tag scanners and digital software. Tracking all this data and comparing yields allows growers to improve cultivation outcomes and efficiency.
  • Productivity: Concentrate producers may also use adhesive tags attached to packages, scanners, and seed-to-sale tracking software to monitor productivity and the potency of various strains. The system is also used for transportation and distribution, providing a wealth of data from the time a seed goes into the ground until a customer takes home a plant, dried bud, or other product from a dispensary.
  • Compliance: Licensed cannabis growers use this technology not only to keep detailed records but also to remain compliant within their state or country’s laws since the information contained on plant and product tags is scanned at every step along the way.
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What does “track and trace” mean?

While some regulators require access to various data points in a seed-to-sale monitoring system, another tracking method called track and trace is far more common for regulatory purposes. It doesn’t provide all the efficiency information that’s useful to cultivators and producers, but it does give regulators a way to assure integrity in the legal cannabis supply chain, prevent illegal cannabis diversion, and to issue recalls for any tainted products.

Cannabis From Seed To Sale

Starting a cannabis business is far from easy. Ensuring you’re following compliance rules and avoiding risks, while staying ahead of regulators is not a one-person job, or even a two-person job.

To stay in compliance, government regulations require you to track and report all of the activities of your operation, from initial plant to final sold product. That’s where seed to sale tracking comes in. Seed to sale is the lifecycle of the marijuana plant from the time the plant is planted until the final product is packaged and sold to the customer. Visually speaking, it starts with growing the plant, harvesting it, lab testing it, processing it, and packaging it, until it ultimately reaches the consumer.

To ensure compliance, seed to sale tracking guarantees every gram of cannabis stays legal throughout its lifecycle. This assists state and local governments by enforcing regulations, collecting taxes, and preventing illegal cannabis from sneaking into the supply.

When you add up all the plant life-cycle stages, plant processing, testing, selling to retailers and then to the end user, you could be talking hundreds of data points to report.

It’s time for some technology

Seed to sale software is a digital inventory control system that state regulators use in marijuana programs to track the cultivation, processing, and sales of cannabis to consumers. With seed to sale software, data is sent in real-time to the state compliance systems or the software generates the reports you need to send into the government to stay compliant. This helps manufacturers track their inventory and manage production, all while staying legally compliant.

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The benefits of using seed to sale software

Whether you’re a grower or a manufacturer, there are multiple benefits of using seed to sale software for your cannabis business:

  • Legal compliance: Most importantly, it ensures your business remains compliant — giving you peace of mind that you’re following state regulations across all areas of your business.
  • No more manual tracking: Seed to sale software systems with intuitive visual workflows save you time and effort, which ultimately, leads to more money saved. Digital inventory tools also let you leave the days of manually updating excel documents or tracking paper inventory sheets long behind you.
  • Invoicing makes order fulfillment simple: These software systems can also help manufacturers save time on order fulfillment processes with automatic pull sheets and invoicing features. Many seed to sale softwares also integrate with other business softwares you already use, like QuickBooks.

Many states continue to debate and vote on cannabis legalization, which means this is only the start of the cannabis boom. To stay ahead of the game, you need to choose the right seed to sale tracking software for you and your cannabis business.


A computer program that documents and tracks cannabis from a plant form to a product on a dispensary shelf. Every legal cannabis state is required by law to have seed-to-sale tracking software, but states with only medical marijuana may or may not be required to have it.

Our-seed-to-sale platform makes it easy for dispensaries to track inventory and profits.”

“Seed-to-sale technology can help cultivators improve yields by keeping meticulous records.”

What is seed-to-sale technology?

In order for states to legalize the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis, they must adhere to legislation designed to monitor all stages of the production and retail processes. Seed-to-sale software, such as Metrc, documents buying seeds and clones, growth of immature and mature plants, when harvesting occurs, when product is transported, and when product is sold to retailers, extractors, or customers.

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This software ensures that cannabis business owners document the correct amounts of harvests and products, and that products are tested appropriately. In practice, every gram, eighth, ounce, etc. of flower, plus every pre-roll, edible, topical, and any other cannabis product belongs to a batch marked by a unique tag or QR code, which is updated as the plant or product moves through the production or retail cycle.

Why is seed-to-sale required to operate in the cannabis industry?

Because cannabis is still federally illegal, states must operate with transparency to avoid scrutiny. To legally operate as a cannabis company, businesses must provide comprehensive and consistent records of their operations, procedures, and profits.

While it may seem like overkill, seed-to-sale tracking is crucial in the event of theft, contaminated product, and auditing, as it provides a means for cannabis employers to survey losses and identify bad batches, and it shows a record of their compliance to state law.

Does medical marijuana require seed-to-sale tracking?

Medical marijuana programs operate in more of a gray area where records are not as stringent, so they are not necessarily required to have seed-to-sale tracking software—it depends on the state. In states with both medical and recreational cannabis, seed-to-sale tracking is usually required for both medical and recreational cannabis.

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