Lot tracking for Canadian cannabis retailers

cannabis greenhouse

What is lot tracking?

Cannabis producers are required to track which lot (also known as batch) a cannabis product came from. Regulators can use that information to trace information such as:

  • When was this plant grown?
  • Where was it grown from?
  • How old is the plant?

The final packaged product contains a lot identifier so that regulators can trace it all the way back to the original plant when needed. This is very useful in the case of product recalls. Lot numbers are required to be included in the GS1 barcode and in a human-readable format on the final package.

A shipment of a single product SKU may contain multiple lots of varying age and THC/CBD levels.

Barcodes on the back of cannabis products to be sold on Greenline POS systems.

Learn about Canadian cannabis lot-tracked barcodes here: https://getgreenline.co/guide-canadian-cannabis-barcodes/

Do I need to lot track at my store?

In most provinces, lot tracking is optional with the exception of Alberta, where the AGLC recommends that stores lot track everything from product intake to sale. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

  • Pros of lot tracking: You will gain visibility into which lot you have available for each product at any given time. This information can help you with your customer-facing menus, which rely on lot-specific information such as THC/CBD levels. When there is a product recall, identifying and accounting for the products to be sent out will be a simple procedure.
  • Cons of lot tracking: Every inventory procedure (purchase orders, audits, sales) requires an additional layer of counting. It will no longer be enough to ask “how many of product X do I have?”. Rather, the question will be “how many of each lot of product X do I have?”.

How can I lot track?

Should your store decide to lot track, here are the workflows you need to consider.

  1. Purchase orders
    • This is the first stage of accounting for your new cannabis inventory
    • Ensure that your POS can support the quantity ordered, quantity received, and a breakdown of the individual lot numbers and quantities per item.
    • Ensure that your POS can designate which products to lot track and which to not lot track. Simple products such as accessories do not need to be tracked at this level.
  2. Audits
    • Audits refer to counting and updating your current inventory levels.
    • Similar to purchase orders, ensure that your POS can support the expected quantity, the actual/counted quantity, and break down individual lot numbers and quantities per item.
  3. Sales
    • Ensure that your POS can scan a 2D lot-tracked cannabis barcode and recognize the UPC and the lot number.
    • In the case that a lot-tracked barcode is poorly printed/formatted, ensure that your POS allows for manual lot number selections.

Lot tracking is not a common feature within off-the-shelf POS systems. While it’s required for grocery/food-based software systems, these will often include additional bloat and features that may not be relevant to your business. Selecting the right cannabis POS can really help streamline your workflows.

Greenline POS was designed from the ground up to support cannabis lot tracking. If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule a Greenline demo.