A powerful plant like cannabis necessitates a transparent system for tracking usage—one capable of demonstrating to the rest of the world that marijuana can be used therapeutically and recreationally with no negative consequences. Metrc is a long-awaited system, but what exactly is it?
What Is METRC?
The Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (Metrc) system is seed-to-sale traceability and compliance management tool that regulatory bodies employ to monitor the cannabis business. Metrc is a cloud-based online software reporting solution that allows licensed cannabis enterprises to track and report supply chain operations in accordance with state regulations.
Importance Of METRC
The METRC was created to assist in the regulation of cannabis cultivation, sales, and transportation. Metrc has the potential to be the most effective instrument in the battle against cannabis diversion, illegal use, and purchasing. It offers a real-time monitoring and auditing system to guarantee that cannabis is grown, transported, and sold in compliance with the law. It’s a device that regulates the flow of information.
METRC also includes all of the following features:
- METRC assures that cannabis and cannabis products are safe to consume by measuring their weight and quality. Furthermore, illegal cannabis development and sales can be minimized through careful surveillance of cannabis cultivation.
- Data collected by METRC devices is compiled and analyzed by MED authorities. As a result, it increases compliance across the cannabis industry.
- While cannabis compliance enforcers and authorities have access to data, it is fully private from business to business. Transactions, sales, and other company operations are not shared across businesses that are independently owned and run.
- This system gives an encompassing view of local and state cannabis industry activities and sales since METRC collects cumulative economic and operational data.
- METRC services are easily available for all cannabis businesses because they may be accessed through a secure internet interface.
With its single-use UID tags, Metrc aims for error-free traceability throughout the plant and product lifecycle, also known as the “chain of custody.” If a mistake is made when assigning a tag to a plant, the tag for that plant must be replaced utilizing metric’s software’s “Replace Tag” option.
So, if a mistake is made when assigning a tag to a package, the package quantity in question must be changed to “0,” with “Entry Error” as the explanation for the change. After then, that plant tag (or package tag) should be removed from the system and replaced with a new, accurate tag.
Which States Use METRC?
Metrc is the state regulatory system used in:
How Is Metrc Different From State To State?
California And Massachusetts
California and Massachusetts are two heavily regulated cannabis states. Massachusetts has worked hard to ensure that every licensee has at least one certified METRC administrator, and businesses can train numerous staff if they like. While in California, several municipal governments have their own tracking and tracing requirements, which are implemented using various systems. Businesses are required to use both the local system and state-mandated METRC. Also, a few third-party vendors are allowed to provide software that integrates various systems to eliminate double entry.
On the other hand, Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia are in the nascent stage in implementing Metrc for the Cannabis industry. These states are still either deciding on the training pattern or developing the training and fleshing out mandates.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) mandates that every employee of a cannabis enterprise get METRC training. Such redundancies in training ensure that tracking systems work smoothly and efficiently.
So, after a training overhaul in 2019, Nevada has now become the one state that provides the highest quality and most available online training in the country.
Louisiana And Maine
Louisiana requires that at least one person from each cannabis enterprise be trained, and it is then their responsibility to train others. While in Maine, each business must have at least one owner who has been trained to utilize METRC and has passed a qualifying exam. If they don’t pass the exam, your company will be forced to close until you do.
So, if you are planning to start a cannabis business, you must contact the local government to understand the requirements to implement Metrc with your business.
So, to start using METRC, you must first obtain METRC certification. This entails learning their terminology and processes before completing a 40-question multiple-choice test.
You can apply for access to select API endpoints that your organization requires once you’ve been certified. For example, if you’re building a seed-to-sale app, you’ll need access to the Plants, Plant Batches, Strains, Rooms, and Harvests endpoints. You must pass a competency exam for each endpoint in order to apply for access (a Get, Post, Update, and Delete request usually).
How Does RFID Plant & Package Tracking Work?
METRC generates tag ID numbers for plants automatically and assigns them to a facility, together with the required name, license number, application, and plant identification numbers. These can then be linked to each plant and tracked throughout its life cycle.
So, a package tag with identical information on two perforated areas is generated once the plant has grown and is ready to be packaged for transfer to a processing facility. The original package retains one portion of the package transfer tag, while the other can be transferred to a retail container if desired. Both of these methods aid in the creation of a solid chain of custody and traceability in the event of a damaged product or the need for a recall.
RFID Radio Frequency Identification
RFID or Radio Frequency Identification in particular is useful for cannabis growers because tags can be read by proximity and not a line of sight, meaning entire rooms of plants can be read and analyzed without the plants being touched. RFID also enables the isolation and tracking of a single ID number from a certain group, making it easier to discover misplaced or misallocated inventory. This method is also up to 90% faster than barcode scanning, which means inventory processing and other labor-intensive practices can be accomplished in minutes rather than hours.
Why Does Traceability In The Cannabis Industry Matter?
So, what exactly is traceability, and why is it important? Track-and-trace services, in general, are intended to prevent legal cannabis from being transferred to the black market or being sold illegally.
Regulatory agencies may track the movement of cannabis plants and goods inside their market using traceability software, ensuring that businesses follow local laws and regulations. Failure to comply can result in substantial fines, suspension, or revocation of your license.
Also, Metrc is a reporting and tracking system for regulatory organizations attempting to curb the unlawful sale of cannabis. The system has a track record of assisting regulators in identifying rogue businesses and preventing subversion in legally regulated markets.
What Do I Need In Order To Comply With Regulations?
Tags for Plant Tracking
Metrc provides plant and package tags to each licensee in states where they are regulated. The devices that transmit position and other data to RFID readers and software are known as plant or batch tags.
Readers decode the data encoded on the RFID plant tag, which includes the location, unique ID, growing conditions, and other information. Readers are available in both handheld and fixed form factors and are frequently used in tandem.
The data collected is visualized using an RFID software platform. The software platform will also deliver all compliance data straight to the state agency, such as Metrc, for the cannabis business.
RFID is a cutting-edge, modern technology that will save your company time and money. Finding an integration partner for initial analysis, setup, and continuing technical support is your best bet.
Metrc: The Knight In Shining Armor For Cannabis Compliance
Metrc protects consumers. The problem can be traced back to the plant group if a product has a side effect, such as making someone sick. It is possible to get shelf items that are linked to a certain plant or package tag.
From seed to sale, Metrc’s track and trace software can help you account for every gram of useful cannabis. Dispensary owners can use Metrc to keep track of all transactions and provide specific information on how much was purchased and by whom.
Compliance will also entail tracking, reporting, and auditing cannabis while using Metrc’s seed-to-sale program.
Metrc enables dispensary owners, cultivators, and cannabis users to stay compliant. Also, stay safe in a world where things are continuously changing.