The Down-Low on Cannabis Compliance Technology

Cannabis legalization in the United States may soon reach the proverbial tipping point. More and more states are hopping onto the “green rush” bandwagon. The allure of increased tax revenue and jobs is hard to resist. But with mass acceptance of a licensed cannabis industry comes a burden of heavy regulation. It is a trade-off that most advocates are willing to make.

However, many cannabis companies face challenges keeping up with the ever-changing local, state, and federal cannabis laws. Fortunately, there is technology designed to ease that burden on operators and help the industry as a whole become more compliant and accountable in doing so. At the same time, cannabis compliance technology enables cannabis companies to streamline and put less of their focus on compliance and more on business growth.

So, what exactly is cannabis compliance technology?

Cannabis compliance technology can be broken down into a variety of services and information that includes everything from dedicated information services, programs, apps and Software as a Service platforms to full blown ERP systems.

Many of these services / online systems aim to provide the most recent and relevant information covering cannabis compliance. They embrace automation, content management and machine learning to avoid any legal pitfalls. In essence, cannabis compliance technology works hand-in-hand with cultivators, manufacturers, dispensary owners, and also compliance professionals serving those companies in their continuous efforts to monitor and comply with federal, state and local regulations.

What is the real value in cannabis compliance technology?

Cannabis companies want to focus on cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, and selling cannabis. However, if you are in the cannabis business, you are in the compliance business.  Cannabis compliance technology allows cannabis companies to focus more on growing their business and less on the burdens of compliance by acting as an augmented compliance workforce, fulfilling tasks you, or your compliance officer/contractor, have set into motion. This technology can come in many forms and offers a variety of benefits, from analytics to regulatory monitoring.

Implementing cannabis compliance technology aims to:

  •  Increase organizational awareness of compliance initiatives
  • Optimize organizational allocation of resources
  • Foster accountability for compliance and standard operating procedures
  • Facilitate efficient regulatory compliance through self-auditing
  • Reduce training time while improving overall training experience
  • Provide centralized knowledge management
  • Customize reporting to establish compliance to 3rd parties

Types of cannabis compliance technology

There are a multitude of cannabis compliance technologies that operators can leverage to reduce risk, increase efficiency, and protect their brands from costly compliance errors. Primary examples of cannabis compliance technology include:

Compliance Platforms

The leading cannabis compliance platforms contain searchable databases of regulatory information for each relevant state jurisdiction, as well as tools that allow users to initiate, maintain, track and document their compliance operations. Sophisticated platforms guide operators through self-audits to prevent non-compliance, and also store, track and analyze your compliance information and processes.

For example, ProCanna is a dedicated cannabis compliance Software as a Service platform that combines a user-friendly, mobile ready interface with advanced features designed to take the sting out of compliance. It promises to allow operators to stay current with changing state cannabis rules & regulations, train employees on evolving operating procedures, audit and document compliance with state regulations, input and maintain internal policies, SOPs, and audits, and deliver customizable reports to end-user groups. For those operators or professionals looking only for its amazing searchable database cannabis regulations by state, a low-cost Guidebook package is offered.

“Most compliance solutions for the cannabis industry are built from the top down,” says Dede Perkins, a cannabis industry veteran and co-founder of Onside Compliance, the company behind ProCanna. “We built ProCanna from the bottom up to make cannabis compliance easy, smart, and unique to the customer.”


CMS stands for Content Management System and allows users to manage and create digital content. As canna-businesses become more automated through technology, many retailers are moving to a CMS model in combination with their point of sale (POS) system.   For cannabis retailers in particular, CMS can be a huge help in efficiently managing inventory and security. Systems like this are greatly beneficial — especially when paired with POS — in two primary capacities: tracking plants and tracking the inventory of its byproducts.

Virtually any digital content can benefit from this type of automation. By having a system in place that automatically documents and analyzes data points to further improve workflow, owners and operators can focus on other tasks.

Electronic Tracking System

Electronic tracking systems (ETS) are often required by regulators to keep track of your inventory. METRC (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) is one of the most prevalent ETS software programs for tracking the cannabis supply chain.

It has become key for businesses to use cannabis compliance technology, specifically software, that smoothly integrates with METRC because of its prevalence in the industry. From sales reporting to inventory numbers, the software can help point out any discrepancies or issues before a compliance failure.

Smart Scales and Barcode Scanners for Data Entry

The inclusion of smart scales and RFID barcode scanners can change the cannabis compliance technology game.

For selling cannabis, farm and dispensary scales must be a National Type Evaluation Program or NTEP scale. Smart scales offer that and more advanced specificity that is required by some states. And when it comes to cannabis compliance: the more accurate, the better.

Radio Frequency Identifications (RFIDs) use electromagnetic fields to identify and track product tags. Software that can scan and compute RFIDs — when paired with its own unique code or serial number — can help businesses easily sync with METRC and its extensive tracking of cannabis from seed to sale. This time-saving pair of systems can make altering and monitoring inventory much easier.

Alerts for purchase limits

Ever-changing cannabis compliance regulations have dictated that recreational customers are limited to purchasing certain amounts of the plant in one day. For canna-businesses, this means keeping a close eye on those limitations.

However, using cannabis compliance technology that can automatically track these limits throughout a customer’s transaction and alert businesses when customer limits have been reached can ease some of that pressure. Instead of selling beyond the legal limit of cannabis to a customer by accident, these purchase limit alerts can prevent such an event from happening.

GPS for tracking cannabis deliveries

Updated cannabis compliance regulations have also recognized the importance of tracking cannabis deliveries. In states where delivery is legal, couriers are required to use GPS tracking devices. Tracking in this way allows for both the retailer and customer to be assured their product is being delivered without diversion.

Technology in the cannabis industry is reaching new heights. Alongside the surge in delivery services in the cannabis industry comes real-time tracking that can be acquired simply through the syncing of a delivery driver’s smartphone. Canna-businesses should pay special attention to developments pertaining to in-house tracking software.

To sum it up

Review your operation’s needs in each of these categories. Speak with fellow canna-business owners to find out which programs have the best features for your needs.

 As the cannabis industry advances into the mainstream, these helpful technologies allow businesses to thrive while efficiently allocating resources to risk management, avoiding costly compliance errors, and protecting their brands.