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Track-and-trace: What your business needs to know to stay compliant

Track and trace systems follow cannabis and cannabis products throughout the entire supply chain — from cultivator to manufacturer to distributor to lab to retailer. This helps ensure businesses pay taxes owed and that the products don't wind up in the wrong hands. Here's what you need to know about this required system and how your business can stay compliant by using it.


Track-and-trace basics

Starting from the seeds and finding their way to the hands of consumers, all cannabis and cannabis products sold in California are required to be traceable every single step of the way. California has selected METRC (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking, Reporting and Compliance) for the state's track-and-trace system, which will follow products throughout the entire distribution chain. 

These systems are designed to be accessible online and are integrated with hardware, such as barcode/RFID scanners, label printers, scales and so on. This allows those in the cannabis business the ability to quickly input data into the system. 

There are no stops along the supply chain where this technology isn't mandated. From cultivators to distributors to manufacturers to testing labs storage to retailers, one scan of the tag will show everywhere a product has been before it reaches a consumer's hands. 

The tags will be equipped with a facility name, facility license number, application identifier (i.e., medical or recreational) and order dates for the tag, along with a unique ID number. Each ID number is not reusable, and tags come complete with both a RFID and a barcode component (however, for those who don't want to use a scanner, the information can be entered manually). 

How track-and-trace helps cannabusinesses stay compliant

Track-and-track systems aren't exclusive to cannabis businesses. Many different business models employ track-and-trace, which helps businesses stay compliant with laws and governmental regulations. 

Specifically for cannabusinesses, track-and-trace systems: 

  • Help governments conduct efficient product recalls in the case of any issues
  • Ensure all cannabis products are safe for consumption
  • Track products back to the seed source if issues do arise
  • Enforce proper accounting
  • Enforce taxation
  • Minimize cannabis products disappearing into the black market
  • Serve as a tool for the government with a high-level view of the industry

Contact us today to ensure compliance

CCA will help your cannabis business become compliant by guiding you through these new regulations every step of the way. We offer advocacy at the state and local level to help ensure regulators are confident our clients meet — and exceed — compliance standards. 

Monica Beyer