Reporting Considerations for Cannabis Businesses

Cannabis businesses, as it currently stands, exist at the perfect confluence of risk—a highly regulated, nascent industry without much precedence to guide the way, and poised for truly explosive growth. All of these factors combined mean that cannabis businesses must be hyper-vigilant when considering how they track, process, and report on customer and inventory data.

When it comes to businesses operating in the cannabis vertical, particularly during the developing years, there can be no such thing as ‘too much data.’ In fact, for businesses to emerge unscathed from the initial licensing process through ongoing regulatory oversight, it will be critical to ensure they are both collecting and securing data throughout the supply chain (for inventory management and compliance) as well as the transaction (for customer and financial data) and, integrating both into reporting.

Starting up or currently running a cannabis business? You’ll want to be aware of these reporting areas to ensure your business remains compliant to avoid sanctions, fines, or worse, having your business license revoked.

Seed to Sale Inventory Tracking

Cannabis businesses will need to have oversight over the complete supply chain, from seed to sale; this will allow them to ensure compliance with inventory reporting requirements, while also forecasting yield more effectively, optimizing inventory levels, and managing stock better. An ERP or MRP solution can track individual units of sale from plant to cultivation through production and warehousing through to retail inventory and point of sale.

Depending on your area of operation, state or federal requirements can require inventory reports weekly, or even daily, accounting for any products sold, destroyed, or in-transit.

Packaging and Labeling

Depending on the type and class of cannabis product being sold, there are nuances around how the product needs to be labeled and packaged. For example, in Canada, there are currently five different classes of legal cannabis products: Dried Cannabis, Cannabis Oil, Fresh Cannabis, Cannabis Plants, and Cannabis Plant Seeds. Then there are varying regulations on the stages of packaging involved: primary packaging, secondary packaging, (such as a carton containing a primary container), and coverings including outer wraps all have different rules and regulations governing them. Cannabis businesses need to have real-time visibility into production operations to remain compliant with these regulations without hampering production speed.

Transport and Fleet Management

 When it comes to moving product, there are several nuances that need to be considered, particularly when looking at transporting across or around states that haven’t yet legalized. According to Findlaw:

“It’s important to note that businesses are generally treated differently. States that have legalized marijuana require businesses to be licensed by the state before they can legally transport the drug. For example, in order for a person to transport marijuana within Colorado for his or her business, the person needs to have a license from the State Licensing Authority as well as from the relevant local authorities. In Washington, transporting marijuana requires a person to have a marijuana retailer license and comply with specific transportation requirements. California also allows licensees to transport marijuana, but limits the transportation to within the state.”

Cannabis businesses need to keep a tight leash on logistics operations as they navigate geographical areas where their product remains illegal.

Financial Data

To reconcile inventory and properly calculate tax info, accurate financial data tracking is an absolute necessity—however, a recent report from Canadian securities regulators found that financial data was severely lacking, with serious consequences on their ability to secure investment.

In a booming industry such as cannabis, investment dollars are pouring in, but incorrectly calculated P&L statements or fair value gains can be a massive liability. By utilizing a financial management tool designed specifically for the unique requirements of the cannabis industry, cannabis businesses can avoid costly fines, penalties, suspension, and loss of license.

Customer Health Data/PHI

While the question of whether federally-mandated HIPAA safeguards apply to medical marijuana is still a grey area, there’s no question around whether cannabis businesses have an obligation to protect customer data. For example, in Colorado, it’s illegal for dispensaries to share patient information with other stores. Outside of a doctor or caregiver, the only other entity allowed to access patient information are designated employees of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. And in Canada, the Federal Privacy Commissioner issued a statement urging consumers to “…opt to only purchase cannabis from those who keep your personal information in Canada.”

Protect Your Cannabis Business

In an industry with as many legal implications for consumers as the cannabis industry, it’s absolutely critical that businesses make every effort to secure customer data and protect it against a breach or bad actors.

As the cannabis industry continues to experience explosive growth, and as more states and countries bring legalization efforts to fruition, the potential only stands to grow exponentially—for businesses that can successfully navigate the myriad of regulations and reporting requirements.

The first step to keeping your cannabis business operational is to ensure that all your siloed data can be stored securely, managed, and accessed, so you can report what you need to whom you need. With the right technology solutions, your cannabis business can survive and thrive in this burgeoning and rapidly changing industry, and Tigunia can help.

From complete financial management to managed IT services, we have everything your cannabis business needs. Tigunia can help you find new ways of improving product quality, increasing production, and saving money – all while keeping your business compliant and your data safe. Ask us anything about your cannabis business.

Talk to one of our Cannabis Software Professionals today!

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