In recent years, the cannabis industry has grown significantly across the globe, mainly due to the legalization of marijuana in various countries recent years. In the United States, the marijuana industry grew by over 40% in 2021, according to a study conducted by Bank of America.
Although marijuana is still legally uncleared at the federal level, around 38 states have legalized cannabis at some level. In many states, cannabis use has shifted from the fringes of the law to being commonplace. For instance, states like California, Colorado, and New York are just a handful of the regions that have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use.
This rollout of legal boundaries has propelled the industry to unprecedented heights, with a forecast of $33 billion in sales in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so too do the regulations surrounding the various products that are distributed to and consumed by the end user.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis production and distribution, and how cannabis producers are approaching compliance to ensure regulators and consumers are able to trace the product from seed to sale.
Regulations for cannabis growers and distributors
In the United States, as with many other countries, governments and regulatory bodies have developed strict regulations surrounding marijuana, including things like quality control, testing, and the levels of specific compounds like THC. While initially opposed to by some small-scale growers, these regulations have proven to bring legitimacy to an industry that has historically operated with little to no oversight.
Even in the US, regulations can vary widely state-by-state. Many states have specific quality control and label requirements for both recreational and medical cannabis products. This can include laboratory testing to identify the quantities of active compounds including THC and CBD, as well as testing for contaminants like certain bacterias, heavy metals, and pesticides.
In most cases, proof of testing as well as the breakdown of compounds within the product must be clearly labeled on the packaging so that consumers can understand the potency of the product they are receiving.
As the industry continues to evolve over time, cannabis testing guidelines will be further defined by organizations responsible for implementing international standards for agricultural products such as ASTM and AOAC.
Manufacturing software in the cannabis industry
Like manufacturers in other regulated industries, producers of cannabis are taking advantage of digitalization and modern industrial practices to get the most out of their operations. Cannabis growers are investing heavily in new-age technologies, including manufacturing systems that help guide their grow, harvest, processing, distribution, and compliance efforts.
While some manufacturers in other sectors might settle for discrete, single-purpose digital solutions, many marijuana businesses are opting for enterprise solutions that scale across the entire business and across multiple locations. Enterprise manufacturing solutions enable such organizations to comprehensively control their entire production process and business, ensuring operations remain efficient and productive.
Benefits of implementing cannabis manufacturing software
As mentioned, implementing an enterprise-level solution can provide a number of benefits to cannabis businesses. Some of these beneficial use cases include:
Quality management: Manufacturing software allows cannabis producers to precisely manage extraction and conversion processes. In doing so, businesses are able to ensure that the products they create meet the necessary quality standards outlined by the company and regulators.
Additionally, ensuring customers receive high quality products is critical to building trust and brand loyalty among discerning consumers in an increasingly competitive market.
Production planning: Enterprise manufacturing softwares leverage stock and machine data to guide production. The robust digital tools can automatically plan and schedule production activities based on material availability and production status.
Inventory management: Solutions with resource planning capabilities allow manufacturers to keep tabs on all of their products and effectively manage their inventory. Additionally, the software enables businesses in this sector to properly guide their raw material sourcing, work-in-progress, as well as packaging.
Traceability: In any industry where products are ingested by the consumer (pharmaceuticals and food and beverage, for example), traceability across the entire product lifecycle is crucial to ensuring peoples’ health and safety.
Cannabis production software makes lot tracking more manageable and enables businesses to track and trace materials and completed batches. Cannabis track and trace is usually based on production or expiry dates and other identifying features.
Workflow management: Since the cannabis manufacturing industry is relatively nascent, many employees might be unfamiliar with particular processes used by a given business. In such instances, manufacturing software comes in handy to define and manage workflows and define standard operating procedures.
Modern tools can guide workers through complex procedures with dynamic, interactive work instructions. This improves productivity and product quality and also ensures compliance with regulatory standards.
Business intelligence: Modern cannabis manufacturing solutions gather data points across the entire business. This provides vital intelligence for the executives and managers, enabling them to make informed business decisions.
Such capabilities allow producers to optimize their operations through proper resource and process management. As a result, cannabis businesses can satisfy regulators and customers at the same time.
Simplifying cannabis production with digital tools
As we’ve outlined, there are a number of significant benefits that manufacturers can experience by implementing a digital solution to manage their operations. Using Tulip, businesses are able to digitize operator workflows, improving productivity and reducing any human error that can occur during assembly or packaging.
By connecting machines and integrating IoT devices, businesses can automate data collection across their operations, providing a real-time view of production. Businesses can also use this data to create an electronic batch record, streamlining compliance processes and product traceability.
If you’re interested in learning how Tulip can help digitize operations, improve productivity, and simplify compliance, reach out to a member of our team today!
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