Seed to Sale Software vs. Compliant Point of Sale: Which Is Better for Cannabis Retailers?


    Cova-Seed-to-Sale-VS-POSNewly licensed retailers entering the cannabis market often think they need to employ seed to sale software to meet their state or province’s reporting requirements. It’s no wonder why with the term “seed to sale” appearing so frequently in official regulatory language, one could easily conclude that seed to sale software is the only option.

    But the truth is that cannabis retailers simply don’t need seed to sale software in order to be fully compliant — and, in reality, most retailers would be better served by a point of sale designed specifically for cannabis retail rather than a full-blown seed to sale system.

    In this article, we’re going to clarify exactly what seed to sale software is and why it’s not the best choice for most modern cannabis retailers.

    The Origins of Seed to Sale Software

    Since the start of the regulated adult-use cannabis market, government traceability programs have required licensed operators to track and report all cannabis product as it moves through each stage of the supply chain — literally from seed to sale. In the earliest days of legalization, when most businesses were vertically integrated and only operated at a single location, seed to sale software made a lot of sense.

    Those seed to sale systems sought to meet agricultural, processing, packaging, and retail needs all in one convenient solution. And, for the most part, they worked for licensees who grew, processed, packaged, and sold their own cannabis on a small scale.

    But as government traceability systems became more streamlined and the size and scope of licensed operations grew, the need for specialized software that could better serve the unique needs of cultivators, processors, and retailers became more apparent.

    Why Most Retailers Don’t Need Seed to Sale Software

    Seed to sale software can still be a viable option for smaller-scale, vertically integrated operators who only want — or only have the budget for — one software subscription. But for retail-only licensees and vertically integrated operators at the enterprise level, a cannabis-specific point of sale provides much greater value. Why? Here are a couple of reasons:

    1. Seed to sale software is not necessary for compliance.

    Here’s the thing: seed to sale tracking takes place at the government level. State and provincial-appointed regulatory agencies are responsible for monitoring commercial cannabis activities; licensed operators, on the other hand, are simply responsible for uploading their commercial cannabis data into the state or province’s tracking system. Whether they do this manually — actually logging in to the system and inputting the data by hand — or through a tracking system integration doesn’t matter, so long as the data is reported accurately and on time.

    2. Seed to sale software simply cannot match the depth of functionality and level of sophistication of a retail-specific solution.

    By design, seed to sale software just can’t compete with a cannabis retail POS when it comes to functionality. Seed to sale systems are built to satisfy the needs of vertically-integrated operators on a very basic level; by contrast, a point of sale engineered specifically for dispensaries can focus entirely on retail-specific features that enable the best possible experience both for the software’s users and the store’s customers.

    Using the Best Tool for the Task

    At the end of the day, you want to use the tool that’s best suited to the task at hand. That’s why hundreds of cannabis retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada turn to Cova’s dispensary point of sale system to keep them compliant and elevate the retail experience.

    Cova’s built-in compliance features include traceability system integrations that provide automated data reporting to state and provincial tracking systems. Eliminating manual reporting saves time and money while significantly reducing the risk of human error when inputting data — which could lead to a costly compliance infraction.

    Cova also keeps retailers compliant with automated product equivalency conversions, enforced purchase limits, and programmable operational hours — so your budtenders don’t inadvertently sell more than they’re legally allowed or conduct transactions outside of legal business hours.

    Additionally, Cova simplifies cannabis inventory management and offers unrivaled dispensary reporting features so you can streamline your operation, maximize efficiencies, and gain deeper insights into your business.

    Ready to See Cova in Action?

    If you’re ready to see exactly what Cova can do for your cannabis retail operation, contact us today to book a free demo.


    About the author: Sylvan Gerish

    Sylvan Gerish is an Account Executive for Colorado and Oklahoma. With a history of working in information technology services in support of commercial and government clients, Sylvan combines her experience in highly regulated and sophisticated industries with her passion for the high-growth cannabis industry to provide the best solution for her clients. 

    Sylvan currently lives in Broomfield, CO with her husband and corgi. Originally from the Flint, Michigan area, she received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan. A proponent of the liberal arts, Sylvan is an active volunteer at university career centers for liberal arts’ students as well as student-athletes. She is an avid college football fan (go blue!) and enjoys hiking and cooking in her free time.