As part of one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States, cannabis businesses must work diligently to stay compliant with state regulations. One of the tools states use to ensure compliance is Metrc. An advanced seed-to-sale platform, Metrc makes it possible to digitally track each plant throughout its cultivation, manufacturing, and retail journey.
The powerful Metrc system makes it easy to account for plants as well as to identify products that need to be recalled. However, regulations and criteria for compliance vary by state. Similarly, the level of enforcement also differs from state to state. Working with an experienced Metrc professional keeps your cannabis operation out of hot water and away from avoidable fines.
With rigid timelines and harsh penalties, the Metrc process can be stressful. Fortunately, we’re here to help you get and stay compliant.
New Ground in Oklahoma
After a landmark Supreme Court decision rocked the boat in Oklahoma back in July, a cloud of uncertainty descended upon the cannabis industry there. In September, however, the state made a decision to lend security and accountability to its cannabis market. By signing a contract with Metrc, Oklahoma has joined 14 states and the District of Columbia in the mission to track and trace plants from seed to sale.
Since the contract was only signed in September, little is currently known about the agreement itself. However, we do know a few details. For starters, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has granted about 9,600 business licenses so far. Those licensees should be preparing for the new system now as Metrc expects to launch by February 2021.
According to Dr. Kelly Williams, OMMA Interim Director, a primary motivator behind the contract with Metrc is to “detect unusual patterns that may indicate product diversion.” Seemingly, for this reason, OMMA will require each cannabis operation to submit a monthly Metrc report. However, the contents of such reports are largely unknown at the moment.
Metrc in Massachusetts & California
The state of Massachusetts signed on with Metrc back in 2018. Since then, Massachusetts has become one of the most heavily regulated cannabis states. Overseen by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), licensees in the Commonwealth face strict Metrc regulations. At any point, CCC investigators have the power to inspect a facility and scan the RFID tags associated with each product. Any violation — from an out-of-place plant to poor safety measures — can result in steep fines and other penalties.
Despite these heavy regulations and strict enforcement, Massachusetts has a solid structure. California, on the other hand, presents a learning opportunity for businesses and state governments alike.
When it comes to Metrc, one of the big areas where the Golden State falls short is training. In California, the state puts on one-and-done training programs and educational workshops that make it difficult for participants to go back and review later on. Other states — like Colorado — have easily-accessible pre-recorded trainings online.
Futhermore, many license holders in California were only having one employee trained in Metrc. With multiple people versed in the system, they can check each other and make sure businesses stay compliant. With only one trained employee, there’s the potential for serious violations that no one is aware of until it’s too late.
PSA for licensees in California: There are rumors that the Bureau of Cannabis Control is getting ready to crack down on Metrc violations. Get compliant or pay the price!
Recommendations for Cannabis in Metrc States
When it comes to running a cannabis operation in a Metrc state, the best thing you can do is work with an experienced professional. Get someone on your team who’s worked with Metrc in multiple states. These professionals understand the small fluctuations that can happen state-to-state and can save your business thousands (if not tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in fines.
Additionally, inputting all of the information into the system is a nightmare to do by yourself. Seasoned professionals can ensure loading inventory, updating nomenclature, and building out new SOPs all happen with minimal headaches.
Finally, there’s a lot to learn from California’s missteps. In particular, the importance of creating training redundancies cannot be overstated. Having multiple people trained in Metrc creates a system with accountability and oversight while also ensuring competence. Proper training along with appropriate organization — which professionals can help with — significantly reduces the risk of violations and penalties.
Although the majority of requirements are the same in each state, the differences can cripple any cannabis business. At the end of the day, proper expertise — whether from an outside professional or a well-trained employee — is your best tool for maintaining compliance.
Once you have a solid team, get ahead of the game. Integrating Metrc is an immense amount of work, so get started as soon as you can.
Do you operate a cannabis business in a Metrc-regulated state? Contact us today to ensure you stay compliant.