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The Ultimate Guide to METRC in the United States

As part of the most regulated industry in history, cannabis operators face intense scrutiny from local and state governments. METRC, a seed-to-sale tracking system, helps operators stay compliant by creating an easily identifiable chain of custody for each cannabis product. Using METRC makes recalls easy and ensures accountability.

cannabis growth

Mandated in 15 states plus Washington D.C., METRC is similar everywhere. However, there are nuances in each state. In order to remain compliant, businesses must be aware of and adhere to their state’s specific regulations. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of where METRC is required as well as how to stay compliant.

This is the ultimate guide to METRC.

Alaska

Using the system in Alaska is as simple as it gets. All you have to do is complete the training course and you’re given your METRC application program interface (API). The training is relatively uncomplicated as well. 

In the beginning, the state conducted in-person training but has since made the switch to virtual sessions. Now, webinar-style courses are offered three times per week for 50 weeks out of the year. This makes it quick and easy to get trained and start implementing METRC.

California

With several agencies overseeing the industry, California is one of the most heavily regulated cannabis states as well as one of the most complicated for operators. When the Golden State chose to use METRC back in 2017, several problems were created. 

For starters, many local governments have their own track-and-trace requirements that use different systems. If your business operates in one of these areas, you’re required to use both the local system and state-mandated METRC. Fortunately, a few third parties offer software that integrates different systems to avoid double entry.

Due to California’s desire to have control over the process, RFID tags — which are required for METRC — have to be bought through the state. The process is needlessly complicated and sometimes prevents businesses from opening their doors. 

If you’re getting started in California, find an experienced consultant who’s familiar with the situation there as well as with METRC.

Colorado

Unlike California, Colorado works closely with the METRC team. As a result, quite a few helpful updates to the system have come out of state. 

Through the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), Colorado aims to improve METRC so that it serves the state and the community equally. To further this goal, Colorado offers online METRC training that’s simple and straightforward.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia began using METRC back in 2018 but has yet to announce how it will operate. We’re watching D.C. closely to see how things will turn out. When we know more, we’ll update you.

Louisiana

In the great state of Louisiana, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry as well as the Board of Pharmacy oversee cannabis-related regulations. Unfortunately, neither of these agencies can come up with an efficient method of training. 

For now, one person from each cannabis operation is trained and the responsibility then falls to them to train others. This style of training is immensely error-prone, so additional training and METRC support may be necessary.

Maine

In Maine, METRC training is unique. Unlike in other states, at least one owner of each business is required to be trained to use METRC and pass a qualifying exam. If you don’t pass the exam, your business stays closed until you do. Prepare for the exam and succeed — contact us for additional training and support.

Massachusetts

Another heavily regulated state, Massachusetts manages cannabis in a logical way. Overseen by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the state offers plenty of resources to guide operators through the process of integrating METRC. 

Additionally, Massachusetts has been working diligently to make sure every licensee has at least one trained METRC admin and allows businesses to get multiple employees trained if they want.

Maryland

Maryland has a unique training situation for cannabis businesses. Unlike in any other state, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) requires every employee of an operation to be trained in the METRC system. Such training redundancies keep tracking systems running smoothly and efficiently. 

Michigan

Michigan’s goal is to “establish Michigan as the national model for a regulatory program that stimulates business growth while preserving safe consumer access to marijuana.” 

Although its system is very similar to those of other states, Michigan has a booming market and few issues, making it one of the most successful cannabis states. Here at Higher Yields, we want to know how Michigan has achieved so much success. We’ll keep an eye out so we can share successful strategies with operators in other states.

Missouri

Similar to a few other states, Missouri requires METRC trainees to take a course and pass an exam. That being said, the state has partnered closely with METRC to develop quality training courses that prepare trainees to pass the exam. 

metrc compliance

However, since the market for cannabis in Missouri is so small, operators aren’t required to have a POS system. Instead, cannabis businesses can simply input sales data into a spreadsheet and upload it to METRC. This strategy leaves plenty of room for error, so if you’re a Missouri operator, be sure to accurately track your sales data.

Montana

As of January 1, 2021, recreational cannabis is legal in Montana. The Department of Public Health and Human Services has chosen METRC to be the seed-to-sale tracking system in place for this nascent market. 

However, the state is still in the early stages of implementing METRC. We’re following this situation closely and will update you when we know more.

Nevada

Nevada has been using METRC since 2017. However, training was overhauled in 2019 after a state-led audit found reporting discrepancies in operations around the state. 

Now, Nevada has one of the highest quality and most available online training programs in the country. The Silver State also offers plenty of resources to help business owners navigate the system and related regulations.

 Ohio

Although METRC was expected to be operational by September of 2018, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) is still developing training and fleshing out mandates. 

We do know, however, that each business will need to earn a METRC Certificate of Operation. Ohio is another state that we’re watching closely and will update you on as the situation progresses.

 Oklahoma

After a landmark Supreme Court decision in July of 2020, Oklahoma signed a seed-to-sale tracking agreement with METRC. Although we don’t know much about how the system will be implemented, we expect that it will be rolled out sometime early this year. Again, when we know more, we’ll let you know.

 Oregon

Overseen by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the state’s cannabis operators are required to use METRC. Each business owner must train in the system and then prove their proficiency by taking an online exam. 

Additionally, the OLCC regularly checks METRC systems and points out discrepancies. This proactive approach keeps licensees on their toes and avoids any dramatic upticks in enforcement.

 West Virginia

As one of the most recent states to adopt METRC, there isn’t much information yet on West Virginia. We anticipate, however, that the Office of Medical Cannabis will implement the system in the spring. We still don’t have any training or mandate information yet, but when we do, you’ll be the first to know.

METRC Across the United States

Across the country, states have different requirements when it comes to their seed-to-sale tracking programs. Although it can be hard to keep track of the varying requirements, it’s necessary for legal operation. Keeping up to date on local and state regulations will help you stay compliant and avoid any painful fines.

Working with an experienced consultant can take a lot of the pressure off. Knowing that your business is safe and compliant in the hands of a professional allows you to focus on other areas of your operation.

 Are you looking for additional METRC support? Contact us today for a consultation!

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule an initial consultation.

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