What is Metrc?
Metrc (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) is a state-mandated software platform developed by Franwell for tracking the production, manufacturing, testing, distributing, and selling of cannabis products. Metrc is an end-to-end surveillance tracking system that state regulators use to monitor commercial cannabis activity and compliance across every part of the legal cannabis supply chain.
If you hold a license in one of the states below, you will be, or already are, required to track all business activities through Metrc.
Which states use Metrc for cannabis compliance?
Learn more about Metrc at metrc.com/.
Why is Metrc Important?
Every state that utilizes Metrc has specific regulatory requirements for reporting cannabis inventory and sales data. As a medical or adult-use dispensary license holder, it is the responsibility of the business to meet these regulatory reporting requirements with 100% accuracy. If there are critical mistakes or inconsistencies in a license holder’s Metrc account, it raises red flags for enforcement officials and regulatory bodies. This puts the business at risk for a state-conducted audit, penal fines, or in the worst cases, being shut down altogether.
The good news is Flowhub has been designed and built from the ground up with Metrc track-and-trace compliance in mind. When CEO Kyle Sherman founded Flowhub in 2015, all reporting to the state was manual. No existing cannabis point-of-sale systems had a direct Metrc integration and all reporting was done manually. As a former cannabis Compliance Officer, Kyle Sherman identified a need to make Metrc compliance reporting easier for retailers. He lobbied the Colorado Department of Revenue to open up API routes for third party vendors and software providers to send data to Metrc and then pioneered the first point of sale Metrc integration with Flowhub.
How do I report to Metrc?
There are several ways that a medical or adult-use cannabis retailer can send daily compliance reports from their point of sale to Metrc. Here are your options.
1. Report to Metrc manually
With this method, data is exported from the point of sale via a CSV file, configured to correct formatting, and then uploaded manually to Metrc. This gives the dispensary license holder control over when and how their compliance information is being uploaded to the state. However, this sales upload method is also the most time and labor intensive and is more susceptible to human error, which could put the licensee at risk.
2. Report to Metrc automatically after each sales transaction
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a digital pathway between two software platforms. Through this pathway, information is either pushed or pulled from one system to the other. Some cannabis-specific point-of-sale systems push to Metrc via an automatic API push after each transaction is completed. However, unless reporting after each sale is required by the state, be wary of software platforms that take the control of sales reporting out of the hands of the licensee. Human error and mistakes are bound to happen, and automated API pushes to Metrc cause those mistakes to be reported to the state before a chance is given to correct them.
3. Report to Metrc via controlled API push
Unless your state requires real-time Metrc reporting, we recommend using a controlled API push. This gives license holders the ease and convenience of a direct API integration with the added control and safeguard of being able to double check data before it is reported to regulators. Flowhub gives licensees the ability to push sales to Metrc only when they are ready. If record keeping errors occur throughout the day, you will always have the chance to identify and reconcile them before sending your closing report.
For states that are required by law to report sales as they happen in real time, such as in Maryland, Flowhub has a built-in feature that automatically reports each sale to Metrc after the transaction is complete.
What if Metrc goes down?
Sometimes Metrc’s API connection is disrupted, slow, or goes down altogether. Getting data from Metrc can take time depending on how many packages need to be imported and the response times from Metrc. In these instances, Flowhub’s built-in Metrc Health Indicator gives you visibility into the real-time status of Metrc’s server speed.
- Good: response time under 100ms
- Poor: response time under 500ms
- Bad: response time under 15000ms
- Effectively down: response time above 15000ms
Even in this situation, it is still the responsibility of the retailer to report to the state each day. When this happens, Flowhub offers a manual export of all related data that can then be uploaded to Metrc via a CSV file.
Best practices for Metrc compliance
Because Metrc cannabis track-and-trace system is the digital paper trail for which your license depends on, it is best to choose a point-of-sale technology partner that gives you the tools to audit and help manage your Metrc account with complete transparency and control.
Be wary of any cannabis point-of-sale option that claims to manage every aspect of your Metrc account or takes the control out of your hands as a licensee. Magic only makes things worse.
Splitting packages in Metrc
Although all inventory has to be accurately tracked within Metrc, the processes and procedures in how that inventory is managed are up to the business and license holder. For example, when a large shipment of edibles with several flavors comes into a dispensary from a supplier under one Metrc tag, the dispensary has the option to keep all of that inventory under that same tag or split the inventory further under multiple Metrc tags for each flavor.
Be cautious of any point-of-sale providers that make assumptions about your inventory management processes by automatically splitting packages in your Metrc account. At the end of the day you want to be in total control of your compliance data, so avoid any API integration that goes so far as to remove your ability to control how you manage and report your Metrc inventory.
We recommend that if you decide to split a package, do so manually in Metrc for complete control over the process.
Importing packages from Metrc
Once clear procedures are established around your inventory management, Flowhub makes it easy to import and track Metrc package tags. Here is how it works:
Often times, a supplier will be inconsistent in their naming conventions with each new shipment of products that come into a store from a Metrc manifest. Flowhub first requires retailers to assign consistent naming conventions to all inventory by building a global product catalog, or a database of all products being sold.
The Import Packages feature then automatically maps the sometimes inconsistent data from the supplier Metrc manifest to the clean and consistent data within the Flowhub Product Catalog. This feature not only keeps your inventory data clean and organized but also allows for better reporting and forecasting with that inventory data long-term.
Auditing your Metrc account
Flowhub is built with more tools to audit your Metrc account than any other cannabis point-of-sale provider. One of these tools is Flowhub’s Metrc Discrepancy Report, which audits your Flowhub inventory and your Metrc inventory. The Metrc Discrepancy Report shows five different discrepancy types that match the discrepancy types in Metrc and maps these discrepancies to each Metrc tag that they are associated with.
With this report, Flowhub has taken the guesswork out of auditing your Metrc account. You’re able to easily identify discrepancies and figure out exactly what happened. This report has saved our clients thousands of hours. Before you audit your Metrc account with this report, the Flowhub team recommends auditing your physical inventory first with Flowhub's mobile Stash App™ to make it easy and be sure you identify discrepancies between your physical inventory and what is in Flowhub point of sale.
Being able to compare our Flowhub inventory to our Metrc inventory is critical, and Flowhub's reporting system allows us to do just that!—Niko Johnson, Store Manager at Diego Pellicer
More Metrc questions? We are here to help.
Whether you are an established medical or adult-use cannabis dispensary or a brand new license holder looking to open a retail store, Flowhub has Metrc support for your compliance needs. If you would like to see the Flowhub features in action, please request a demo.
You may also like...
2020 Cannabis Laws: Major Regulation Updates for Dispensaries
30 December 2019 | 11 min read