If keeping fresh stock on the shelves is a priority, optimal inventory tracking is an essential component of your business model . A company that has a holistic inventory view — of where products originate, where they are currently, and where they are going — can maximize their cash position, minimize waste and fraud, remain compliant with state and local regulations, and stay one-step ahead of customer demand.

For California cannabis businesses eyeing January 1, 2018, when the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) is enacted and they can begin selling non-medical cannabis, proper inventory management is essential. Cannabis businesses, like many traditional industries, must navigate the usual quality-related issues of maintaining in-store stock, but the unique nature of the emerging cannabis market raises regulatory concerns that must be addressed.

AUMA (in conjunction with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act [MMRSA]) contains guidelines that will create regulatory requirements at both the state and local level. As California transitions from a grey cannabis market (unclear/changing regulatory standards) to a fully regulated cannabis market, all existing cannabis businesses can expect, and must be prepared for increased scrutiny at the state, local, and, potentially, federal level. The regulatory guidelines for California’s emerging cannabis market are currently being drafted. The latest Trailer Bill, which seeks to create a single regulatory framework is viewable here.

Cannabis businesses face a unique set of challenges that traditional inventory management systems are not engineered to handle. True cannabis inventory management must be designed around the processes of growing plants. Plants grow in distinct stages and each stage requires its own set of activities and formulations. Inventory management that truly adds value needs to track quantity and all the inputs that go into maximizing your harvest. The more you input, the more the system should output with real-time analytics to help you make informed decisions that improve processes.

Conceptually it makes sense, but the difficulty is that every grower has a unique process, and rigid software built around regulations requires growers to spend more time on manual input, and less time growing the business. The ideal is a balanced framework that gives users a structure to manage inventory, but also accommodate a range of operational inputs. And when it comes to compliance, the output is precise and thorough, making the job easier for regulators and reducing the burden on the business owner.

Going beyond cultivation, the seed-to-sale tracking and inventory management process extends to processing, manufacturing / extraction, and retail. Each of these domains have different requirements and complexities. Establishing the right compliance program and implementing systems to ensure compliance is critical to success.

In pursuit of the optimal inventory tracking to recommend and implement with our clients, ELLO partners with enterprise tracking platforms dedicated to compliance within the cannabis industry, such as Trellis Solutions Inc. Trellis’ software provides true seed-to-sale tracking, state-of-the-art data security, insightful benchmarking and analytic capabilities and the flexibility to meet the needs of a diverse range cannabis businesses across the entire value chain.

To ensure your business is fully compliant with California’s cannabis regulations and your inventory management system is driving value, reach out to the cannabis business advisors at ELLO today.