You might be wondering what sets legal cannabis cultivators apart from illegal ones. The answer lies in the tracking of a plant from its seed until it becomes the end product.

Fortunately, the regulated cannabis industry has come up with a system that will help in the fight against the black market: the seed to sale system. Keep reading to find out how seed to sale works and what stages are involved in this process. 

How Seed to Sale Works

Seed to sale involves the entire production chain of a marijuana business. The cycle begins with the growth of the cannabis plants up until the final product is sold at a dispensary. 

Growers with cannabis licenses monitor the manufacturing, transport, and distribution of the plants. They also use the seed to sale process to keep detailed records and remain compliant with the applicable state laws. 

In many states, digital seed to sale tracking systems are required to track every stage of the production chain and provide transparency. This will also ensure product safety and demonstrate compliance with corresponding laws. 

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The Seed to Sale Process


Growing cannabis from a seed or a clone has different advantages and disadvantages. Cloned plants are consistent, and their gender is always known. These plants will produce the same amount of product when provided a similar environment to their parent strain. 

Meanwhile, seeded plants retain their taproots, enabling them to grow faster and stronger. However, they have a greater potential to grow into males, which can destroy an entire operation overnight. 


One of the most critical factors in any successful cannabis operation is an effective and methodical growing stage. This entails maintaining proper lighting, nutrients, oxygen levels, carbon dioxide levels, and water levels through the vegetation stage. 

While older plants are far more resilient to stressors, newly developed plants can die quickly without careful maintenance. Proper upkeep ensures that plants stay stress-free, enabling them to grow to their maximum potential and prevent any possibility of a sex change. 


In the flowering stage, it is important to carefully transition the cannabis plants into their new nutrient set. A single switch overnight can potentially ruin all the hard work you have put into these plants over the last few months. 

Make sure that the cannabis plants are properly supported as they stretch. The plants should also receive appropriate lighting to maximize their growth. 

Cultivating or Harvesting

The buds should be almost completed in the closing weeks before you harvest them. The signs indicating that your hard work is ready to pay off include milky white trichomes, darkening or amber hairs, and a pungent odor. 

In the final two weeks, you can avoid any unwanted chemical tastes by flushing the plants of all the added nutrients. This will also allow the plants’ flavors to shine. Before harvest, it is also recommended to keep your plants in a dark room to protect your trichomes. 

To comply with the seed to sale tracking system, plants are assigned with a unique barcode or QR code. These identifiers help record information on the maturation phase of the plant’s life. The information is archived by growers to ensure accountability and regulation adherence. 

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Drying has the ability to make or break your harvest, depending on how you do it. Some of the best practices involve a solid week of drying in a completely dark room with effective circulation and humidity control. 

You will know when you are ready to go to the next step when your weed stems can bend or pop without breaking and the buds themselves are dry. If you have been using pesticides or growing plants outdoors, consider bud washing to clear off any harsh flavors. 


Trimming plants is often a tedious yet rewarding process. This processing stage sets the visual tone of your cannabis plants. Whether it is a dry or a wet trim, it is an important step before moving on to curing your plants. 


Cannabis plants begin to break down the moment you harvest them. You can prevent the breaking down of cannabinoids and terpenes into less favorable compounds with a proper cure. 

After trimming, the buds should immediately be sealed into containers or bags and kept in a cool, dark room. Monitoring humidity is essential to prevent mold and preserve the bud’s taste. 


The packaging depends on whether your product will leave the shelf or not. This stage involves sorting the flowers and deciding which buds are suitable enough for sale. They can either be sold on the shelf or sent for post-processing, such as joint rolling or extraction. 

Before the product reaches the consumer, cannabis is tested for chemicals and other harmful contaminants. The potency is also tested and printed on the product label. 


If some trimmings and buds did not make it to the shelf, they should not be thrown away. They can still be processed into other products and be sold to customers. 

For instance, you can create a bubble hash by filtering the trimmings with ice cold water. You can also use leftover buds to make pre-rolled joints, waxes, or shatter. 

Bottom Line

Tracking cannabis products is possible in a regulated cannabis industry with the seed to sale system. It enables the monitoring of plants at every stage from planting, harvesting, curing, manufacturing, and packaging before they are sold to the consumer. 

Seed to sale is both important for consumers and providers. It assures consumers that they are getting tested, quality products to support their health. Meanwhile, seed to sale helps cannabis providers manage their operations and remain compliant with state laws. 

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