At NisonCo, you’re likely used to reading educational pieces on topics ranging from the War on Drugs and advocacy to helpful tips about developing an impactful SEO competitive analysis. Today, we decided to do things a little differently. We’re taking you on an exploratory cannabis process field trip from seed to sale. Along the way, we will be making stops at the cannabis farm, production facility, and packaging warehouse to get an inside look at each step of the process.
All Aboard the Seed to Sale Tour
Each cannabis company along the supply chain is involved in seed to sale in one way or another. Some take on roles as farmers while others ensure cannabis is tucked safely in child-resistant (CR) packaging. No matter where companies fall along the spectrum, each of them uses seed-to-sale software like Metrc to maintain operational compliance. This software is employed to keep companies compliant with the strict regulations surrounding the cannabis supply chain from seed to sale to ensure nothing falls through the cracks, thereby holding businesses accountable and keeping customers safe.
Along the ride, you’ll notice particular processes exist at each stage to keep in line with various state regulations and laws. From the initial stages of seeding to the final steps of the sale, cannabis is kept track of with virtual software systems to ensure the product is safe when it reaches the end consumer. This is accomplished with strict practices governing cannabis tagging, tracking along stages of manufacturing, and tight maintenance point of sale (POS) systems checking in on each product purchase.
Let’s get rolling, shall we?
Seeding: Where It All Begins
The first step of the seed-to-sale journey takes place where all plants begin: from a seed. Our first stop today is autoflower cannabis seed experts, Atlas Seed. Cannabis products would not exist without our beloved seeds. Atlas Seed produces autoflower feminized cannabis strains, which are well known for their characteristically high yield and short growing cycle. In fact, autoflower cannabis can be grown in as little as two months. In this short period of time, the plants still come to flower with bountiful cannabis, sometimes producing upwards of 50 grams of flower. Like other crops, cannabis can be grown outdoors, in a greenhouse, hydroponically, or within a cultivation facility. Each grow location comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, compounded by factors such as energy savings, operational expenses, harvest cycles, and pest control.
A Harvest Like No Other!
Once cannabis has grown, it’s time to harvest! The harvesting season is an exciting time, for both indoor and outdoor cultivators. Normally, cannabis takes at least eight weeks to flower, but with autoflower cannabis, the flowering stage can be much shorter — sometimes taking just five weeks. After cannabis has finished the flowering stage, cannabis cultivators can employ harvesting techniques. After being harvested, cannabis undergoes a drying process in which the plants are hung in a dry, dark environment to protect the terpenes and cannabinoids. The drying process can take up to 10 days. Immediately following the drying process, cannabis plants are destemmed, sorted, and trimmed. The cannabis is then cured in order to preserve cannabinoids and flavor, as well as prolong shelf life.
Cannabis Extraction is Where it’s At
Up next, we’re stepping into the production facility to catch a glimpse into the realm of cannabis processing. Cannabis processing transforms cannabis flower into products such as edibles, tinctures and concentrates. Raw cannabis flower goes through the extraction process, in which the plant material is separated from cannabinoids and terpenes to create a more concentrated product. Not all consumers are interested in consuming flower — Some get more out of the experience by using cannabis via other methods, such as by applying a topical or vaping a concentrate. Another reason the extraction process takes place is to isolate specific components such as cannabidiol (CBD) to create products free from or with reduced psychoactive compounds (like THC). The extraction process essentially allows consumers to enjoy cannabis’ various benefits in a myriad of different ways, rather than just consuming flower.
Securing the Bag (Literally)
We’ve seen the fields and the farms. We took a peek at the harvest process, and we stepped inside the production facility to get a firsthand look at the extraction process. Now, we’re moving on to the final stages of seed-to-sale: the packaging and sale portion.
Before the final stop, we decided to swing by The Bureau. The Bureau designs top-tier cannabis packaging, keeping cannabis safe and secure. The Bureau specializes in Child Resistant (CR) cannabis packaging, eco-friendly cannabis packaging, and beautiful packaging to give brands flare while guiding them through the design process. While some cannabis companies like to own the packaging process alongside other aspects such as farming and extracting in a vertically integrated model, companies like The Bureau specialize in wholesale packaging, offering white label services to brands and dispersing vast amounts of cannabis packaging materials so those brands can conclude their supply chain.
Cannabis packaging is a vital step in the process, especially because the industry must comply with strict legal restrictions. For example, cannabis must be secure to ensure it’s kept out of children’s hands. There are also restrictions on design specs, such as the imagery that can be shown. For this reason, many companies opt for simple designs. Once cannabis products are packaged, they can be shipped off to retail locations to await sale.
Thank you for joining us on our seed-to-sale field trip exploration! If you’ve enjoyed the ride and are eager to hop aboard a real Seed to Sale Tour, take a ride with Emerald Farm Tours. Have any questions about how we can help your cannabis company get exposure along the seed-to-sale process? Reach out to us! We offer impactful cannabis SEO and PR services, aligning with your company’s goals to create impactful campaigns to get your name out there. Learn more about how NisonCo can help your business today.