It’s not often that state legislators get the chance to regulate and define a brand-new industry; with the rapidly growing cannabis market, they have been presented with the opportunity. As regulators consider what level of regulation is appropriate in their specific regions, the opportunity is ripe to deploy innovative technologies to improve the security, efficiency, and processes associated with compliance.
It’s possible to boil the regulatory requirements down to the following major areas. Naturally, this depends on the area that you’re in and which part of the cannabis industry your business operates in, whether a dispensary, cultivator, or solution manufacturer.
● Regulated access to marijuana
● Product security (i.e., handling, storage, and transportation)
● Tracked and documented inventory management
● Robust reporting process in case of incident or breach
● Secured and protected digital records
Here’s how the latest access control technologies may be used to help keep your cannabis business compliant and aid you in maintaining comprehensive and easily audited records.
Personnel Access Control
While the requirements of employee access control are only lightly covered in most regulations, it still forms an integral part of any comprehensive security plan in the cannabis industry. The regulations in California, for example, simply require walls separating limited access areas from common/exterior areas. This is obviously not sufficient as a security measure since products could easily be diverted with little way of preventing it.
Auditable access control records give an easily documented way to monitor personnel movements across a range of functions, and an intelligent system allows an access control card to be tuned to only allow access to specific areas, even down to specific times of days.
This is where technology can really benefit a cannabis producer. The majority of legislation requires the tracking of all cannabis products from seed to plant, harvest to the consumer, with documentation every step of the way. The Marijuana retail report notes that 90 percent of all cannabis theft occurs via employees.
Near field communication (NFC) tags can be affixed to transport containers and finished products and can be used to not only track the route of a product through all stages of processing but also sound an alert if a container is moved into an area that it shouldn’t be in. While this may not prevent all theft or product loss, it forms a solid foundation from which to build a comprehensive product tracking practice. In addition, monitoring the routes taken and transit times can allow a product to improve production and transport efficiency. The same NFC tag can also ensure that the sealed product is tamper-proof.
That’s not all. NFC technologies can be built directly into packaging and can store information as well and communicate them directly to a consumer’s mobile phone. A QR code, for example, provides valuable data to the end purchaser: The NFC communication may give access to the history of the product, the strain of cannabis plant, concentration of THC, and other information.
NFC Temperature ControlSwitching tack slightly into the cannabis production realm, NFC can play an active part of improving cannabis yields and ensuring growing conditions remain optimal. A simple NFC tag can be configured with a minimal and maximal temperature threshold, and communication with a centralized NFC-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) sensor can transmit that data for analysis at a regular frequency. Changes in temperature can be tracked for investigation and alerts may be generated should temperatures move out of a specified range. While this could be more simply solved using a room-based temperature sensor, the granularity of an individual NFC tag will give a more detailed picture of temperature variations in growing areas and allow small scales changes to be made flexibly to improve yield. Staff members can also employ handheld devices to obtain the same information for manual inspections.
Powerful Solutions for the Cannabis Industry
Identiv provides one of the first true tech solutions in the cannabis industry for authenticity and safety. As cannabis is self-regulated but not FDA approved, it is important to adopt a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled smart packaging solution now to ensure quality control at practically zero cost.
Our strategic partnership with TrueGreen allows us to digitize cannabis products and smart packaging with RFID and NFC technology. This collaboration supports asset tracking throughout the supply chain, authenticates products, and protects against package tampering.
According to Amir Khoshniyati, Identiv Vice President and General Manager, Transponders: “Our partnership with TrueGreen is accelerating quickly to meet the demands of the growing cannabis industry. In the second half of 2021, we developed five new proprietary multi-use RFID/NFC designs customized for the unique requirements of cannabis smart packaging.”
Powered by Identiv’s customized best-in-class RFID, NFC, and sensor designs, TrueGreen provides the world’s first cloud-based cannabis asset and smart packaging management platform. The solution offers unsurpassed product security for cannabis growers, marketers, and customers, and enables companies to capture real-time information and act on data-driven insights across the value chain.
Tim Daly, President of TrueGreen, believes the collaboration with Identiv brings unrivaled experience, innovation, and depth in RFID, NFC, and sensor design. He trusts the partnership can transform how the cannabis industry is leveraging critical data at every step of the business from farm to fingertip.
The Role of Big Data
Big data is a term that doesn’t crop up too often in the physical security world, but this is one of those occasions where the data being generated and captured by the NFC-connected devices will be scrutinized, analyzed, and stored. Given that the cannabis industry is new, high-tech, and growing rapidly, data is a key component for getting ahead in the market, and cannabis service and product providers are well-positioned to take hold of this data to maintain compliance and security.
With RFID tracking, it is possible to track cannabis from seed to sale. RFID tags can be used throughout the lifecycle of a marijuana plant to help growers and distributors adhere to the requirement for a regulated cultivation and distribution channel of cannabis products.
Identiv collaborates with cannabis software providers like TrueGreen, plant growers, and distribution channels to fit the right RFID tag according to their environment and processes. With the help of RFID tags, plants can carry their heritage and history from seed to retail stores and dispensaries. Tags can also alert when a tray of seeds is moved unplanned, for instance. Growers can rely on RFID tags for precise inventory management and better efficiency in their operations.