What is “METRC”?
Not new to anyone involved in the cannabis or marijuana industry is METRC. METRC (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) is a compliance system put in place to meet individual reporting requirements required by each state that subscribes to the system. This of course is the system in a ‘nutshell’, it is really a very elaborate tracking and inventory system that will assist in monitoring product from day one throughout the sales process. The system works to help maintain compliance by tagging and identifying products and plants throughout the entire growth and sales cycle for all product sold.
Along with the compliance feature of the system is the point of sale platform or POS which assists in monitoring the transportation as well as the sale of marijuana or cannabis.
A third party company Farnell which has been contracted by Colorado and many other states to handle their “seed to sale tracking” for various regulatory agencies like the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division is the company which designed and supports METRC. The system offers an online web based software for growers, distributors and retailers to update inventory and progress all from seed to sale. Under the system, each plant and package is assigned specific RFID tags which are only distributed by METRC. This is how each plant’s progress is tracked through the system.
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METRC Certification Process
Put simply, you must first obtain certification to utilize the METRC system. The studies include proprietary terminology and workflow and then completing a fairly simply 40 question test. Once certified you will be able to access API endpoints that your company will require access to. You will have to complete a competency examination for each endpoint.
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Why did METRC start?
In the State of Colorado there was difficulty in regulating growth and sales of marijuana. In December of 2013, METRC was adopted inside the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). According to the website for METRC, “the system has above 20,000 users and has successfully tracked over 5,000,000 plants and 3,800,00 packages.”
Previous to using METRC, the State of Colorado was having difficulty relying on “hard copy” type record keeping where a standard was not being met. METRC brings forth a standard for reporting and communicating with regulatory authorities about inventory and sales. The data from this program along with other states that have adopted the system leads to a dynamic approach towards regulation instead of reactive regulation which tends to address only significant cases instead of approach the industry as a whole. According to many sources, John Hudak of the Brookings Institute has attributed METRC in the state of Colorado by stating, “In many ways, the system is the backbone of Colorado’s regulator structure governing legalized marijuana.” – July 31, 2014.
Colorado, along with many other states had such a migration to the industry without a standard to communicate inventory and sales with dispensary owners. Franwell, the group that designed METRC along with the Marijuana Enforcement Division have created a system which allows municipalities and constituents to make educated decisions based on comprehensive and fair regulatory compliance industry wide.