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8 Common Inventory Management Questions for California Cannabis Retailers

California Track and Trace Common QuestionsCalifornia debuted the state’s Adult Use cannabis program in early 2018, ushering in a new era for one of the largest cannabis economies in the world. But with market growth comes something a little less exciting: new inventory management requirements for cannabis retailers.

To help make sense of this new compliance landscape, we’ve answered the most common questions about track and trace in California.

1. What is the statewide tracking system for cannabis in California?

The seed-to-sale tracking system statewide is called California track-and-trace (CCTT). The system is used all across the state, by every licensed producer, processor and retailer of cannabis. It’s a completely web-based application, run on a software called METRC, so there’s no bulky hardware or major programs to download.

2. Why is track and trace in California important?

Community safety is the number one goal of the CCTT. It achieves this by requiring all cannabis be tracked from the time a seed is planted to when it is eventually sold to the consumer in the form of flower, topical, edible, concentrate, beverage, tincture, etc.

By keeping a close eye on all cannabis as it moves through the commercial supply chain, law enforcement can limit diversion to the black market and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors.

Track and trace in California also exists to aid in product recalls. By tracking all cannabis, regulators can tell what products came in contact with or were made with a tainted batch. This helps to get defunct products off the shelf as quickly as possible, reducing consumer harm.

3. What do cannabis retailers have to report in CCTT?

By 11:59 pm every day, a daily transaction report must be submitted to CCTT by all cannabis retailers. These critical reports must include all transactions from that day, including sales, returns, exchanges and destroyed or damaged products.

Every two weeks (14 days), licensees are also required to conduct inventory reconciliation. This is essentially a physical inventory audit to make sure the inventory numbers reported in CCTT match what is in the store. Any discrepancies must be reported in the CCTT system.

4. Is there training available for the CCTT system?

Yes, in fact every license-holder must establish a CCTT-METRC Account Manager. This person will be required to undergo mandatory training during the license application process. The trainings are provided by Franwell, the parent company of METRC. It is done online via live or pre-recorded webinar.

5. Does every California cannabis retailer have to use CCTT?

Yes, every annual license holder must comply with all CCTT reporting requirements. The only exception are temporary license holders. They will not be given access to the CCTT system, but will be expected to track their daily transactions outside of the statewide system.

If a temporary license holder is granted an annual license, they will be required to upload past inventory reports to the CCTT system.

6. What is a Unique Identifier and how do I get mine?

Unique Identifiers (UID) are the backbone of track and trace in California. The specific alphanumeric codes are assigned to each cannabis plant or product on a licensed premises. The same UID follows a single product through its entire life cycle.

Licensees are responsible for assigning a UID to each product. These UIDs can be ordered and accessed through the CCTT system at no additional cost.

7. Who has access to my cannabis retail & store data through CCTT?

The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) allows data within the CCTT to only be viewed by the licensee and authorized employees of the state government.

Local and state law enforcement agencies can also request information from the CCTT system. The requested information will be supplied by the licensing authority.

8. How to track inventory at your cannabis retail store?

Tracking the sale, return and/or destruction of all cannabis products at a retail location throughout the day would be incredibly time consuming! And inputting all of that data manually, in the proper format for CCTT, leaves your retail location at risk of human error. Major inventory discrepancies can result in fines, license suspension and even complete revocation.

Avoid compliance risks and lower your workload by partnering with a POS system that integrates with California's tracking system and is made specifically for the cannabis industry.

Cova’s cannabis dispensary POS makes inventory compliance easier than ever for California cannabis retailers. Cova automatically uploads all transactions to CCTT and updates inventory counts as well. To conduct the 14-day inventory reconciliations, simply print out a real-time copy of your Cova inventory, conduct a physical count and report any discrepancies in CCTT. You can also create wholesale purchase orders in Cova that can be sent to your suppliers.

Beyond just inventory compliance, Cova’s POS can help limit risk in other key ways. The system is set up to alert cannabis retail staff when someone is underage or using a fake ID or attempting to buy more cannabis than daily purchase limits allow. The system also keeps any staff from transacting outside of legal operating hours.

Understanding the state’s inventory tracking requirements is vital to maintaining a cannabis business in California. To learn more about track and trace in California and how to track inventory at your cannabis retail store, download our whitepaper to help create an inventory management plan.


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