Canadians are expected to spend upwards of $7 billion on cannabis in 2019. If you’re a cannabis producer, you should be thrilled; good times are ahead. The challenge ahead lies in how companies will manage the mountains of regulatory paperwork – and how they can leverage these requirements for the overall success of their business.
Regulatory oversight is no joke. In Canada, where cannabis became legal last year, Canadian producers have 477 compliance fields to complete each month (US-based producers also have strenuous reporting requirements). This number does not even include province-specific requirements. Everything from transitioning seedlings to the flowering area, to the mass of the plant that’s pruned or trimmed, to the weight of seeds you send off to testing labs: government regulators want to know everything.
Trying to manually capture all that data each month is a recipe for failure. The burden is simply too large for long-term success. Mistakes are certain to abound, and the threat of burnout too great – and these issues will scare away potential buyers.
That’s why we’ve optimized cannabis traceability and compliance from seed to (whole)sale: to empower you to produce and distribute confidently and dramatically reduce the risk of losing millions on lost sales or costly recalls.
Streamline Traceability Down To The Farm Level
In January, we released Icicle for Farmers, an expansion of our food safety and traceability software into the crop production space. We realized that, in order to achieve the supply chain transparency necessary to comply with cannabis regulations, producers need to be able to control and document every aspect of their operation, starting at the farm level.
Here’s how Icicle helps cannabis growers maximize traceability:
- Track every seed. From the moment seeds arrive in your warehouse, to the day you harvest, Icicle helps you monitor the movement of every seed, plant, and byproduct.
- Improve traceability with action reports. Applying fertilizer, disposing of seeds that didn’t germinate, or trimming your adult plants? Our platform helps ensure you’re never missing a step in your reporting.
- Harvest confidently. Record your harvest output and let Icicle integrate your raw product with food safety, quality assurance, incident management, traceability, and shipping flows for optimized operations and reporting.
No more confusing Excel sheets, unorganized folders, or running to the next office to find a specific report. Your complete database is available for review from anywhere via our secure, cloud-based platform.
Generate Traceability Reports in Seconds
You’re already collecting detailed data on your production – otherwise, you wouldn’t be allowed to do business – but those monthly reports are draining you of time and energy.
We enable you to skip the headache of distilling all your production data into a monthly report by automating the entire process.
If you’re in Canada, Icicle generates Health Canada-compliant reports with all 477 compliance fields filled out automatically. When it’s time to submit your monthly report, you don’t have to go through dozens of documents and transfer that data over; you simply click or tap a few buttons, and Icicle compiles the report for you in seconds.
This not only saves you thousands of dollars, but it also cuts the risk of data-entry errors and takes a load of stress off your shoulders.
Protect Your Company from Cannabis Recalls
While many view cannabis safety through a pharmaceutical lens, the reality is that cannabis is most vulnerable to the kinds of food safety hazards that most affect the food industry. We are already beginning to see profit-destroying recalls in Canada for issues like contaminants and mould. Producers that wholesale their products, especially as edibles, need robust traceability that can protect them and their buyers if a recall is required.
This is where Icicle’s food manufacturing features come into play. We enable you to track the flow of ingredients to products, record food safety actions (washing the floors, refrigerating shipments on time), and monitor environmental data (humidity, temperature, etc). There are even plug-and-play templates that help prepare your facility and products for certifications, like SQF.
With all your data organized in Icicle, you can run mock audits and recalls that empower you in several big ways:
- You can find potential problems before auditors do. Running mock audits helps you identify weaknesses in your food safety plan, as well as ways you can strengthen those areas. You’ll be glad you took care of them before the auditor arrived.
- Wow auditors with automated reports. When audit day arrives, Icicle enables you to pull up detailed records, create custom traceability reports, and answer questions in seconds – not hours. Regulators can even complete large portions of their audit without visiting your facility, thanks to remote access.
- Achieve certifications faster. Don’t let the mountains of paperwork keep you from growing your business. Icicle’s thorough data collection and reporting empowers you to win certifications faster than your competition.
- Earn trust and respect from buyers. Retailers love working with producers who have their food safety act together (there’s much less risk), and are much more likely to become buyers.
- If a recall ever does happen, you’ll be prepared. Just identify a specific cannabis lot code and the system will automatically track everything, allowing you to keep your recalls as small as possible, which can save you millions in lost product and damaged relationships.
With most producers still using outdated, manual traceability systems, adopting a dynamic platform like Icicle can impress both auditors and potential buyers as you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Cannabis Food Safety & Traceability from Seed to Wholesale
Existing seed-to-sale applications are woefully inadequate since they were developed to support a very narrow, vertically integrated environment where the same company was growing for and selling to medicinal consumers. This model made a lot of sense for limited, small-scale production for the burgeoning medical cannabis industry but falls apart when entering the mainstream. Icicle focuses on supporting scalable growing and processing operations instead of managing patient records and handling counter sales.
After legalization in Canada and in some US states, major agricultural companies are becoming growers and making edibles – and they don’t sell to consumers. This is where the logic of Icicle is ultimately much more suitable to the scale and requirements of that kind of operation: seed to wholesale.
In this new and growing business landscape, cannabis companies need software that can provide the data infrastructure necessary for the regulatory environment, including food safety regulations and GFSI-recognized programs – especially as programs like SQF are moving toward certifying cannabis companies. Businesses from a local grower to Shopper’s Drug Mart need software to achieve and maintain compliance, a fact that will only be more pressing as legislation for edibles will be released in Canada this year.
Cannabis production and regulation is still in its infancy, and changes are certain to come for both growers and manufacturers. More and more it’s looking like the regulatory burden cannabis producers can expect will resemble the food industry – and this is where Icicle is already light years ahead.
Want to see a demo of how Icicle can empower your cannabis business?