It’s been in the works for some time now. METRC™ is a software company that assists with the use of their web application for seed-to-sale track and tracing of cannabis and cannabis infused products for medical and recreational cannabis states. METRC™ landed the Oklahoma state contract to implement a state-wide universal compliance system to monitor every movement of every cannabis product made and sold in Oklahoma.
With very little direction or notice, aside from a new page on OMMA’s website, every commercial cannabis licensee in the state of Oklahoma is required to be on-boarded to the new system before April 30th, 2021.
Other states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts, Oregon, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are all using METRC™ as their track and trace software.
Some states require that the licensee subsidize the cost of using METRC™ by paying a fee to utilize the system and order “tags.” Oklahoma licenses will be required to pay $0.25 per package tag and $0.45 per plant tag as well as pay $40.00 a month to use the state mandated program. In California, the cost of tags are assumed in the annual commercial cannabis licensing and renewal fees. METRC™ issues the physical tags with bar codes and RFID chips in every tag to identify every package as it comes in and out of a facility. This will undoubtedly increase the cost of production.
Each tag also has printed on it the licensee name and license number. The focus of the use of METRC™ is to prevent diversion and assist regulators with overseeing compliance. Essentially, OMMA can pop in for a surprise inspection and cross verify existing on-site inventory with what is logged in the licensee’s METRC™ account. Any variations or discrepancies could result in violation fines.
Aside from the fact that METRC™ chose a confusing name for its software, it is a complicated non-user friendly interface that takes true daily use to understand. All 10,258 licensees including non-operational licenses are required to undergo webinar training by the end of March, with beginning inventory entered by the end of April. The implementation of a state track and track system had been planned since the inception of the Oklahoma medical marijuana laws.
One thing that will become an issue for new users is the bandwidth of METRC™’s servers max out at peak hours of operations. So the more licensees using the system, the more it slows the system down because it runs on an internet based platform. Rural licensees that have spotty internet may find themselves having to continue manual records and backlog manifests and transfers when the internet goes out.
Having a state oversight system assures the patients that they are obtaining compliant, pesticide-free medicine. It allows each product to get traced back to the seed it came from. In the event of a recall, the licensee and OMMA are able to track the movement of every stage of the plant.
There will be challenges and slow integrations for users that aren’t as tech savvy. It will also make it harder for any licensees that might be operating in the illicit market to divert medical cannabis product in or out of the state.
All licensees were required to have a track and trace system that would integrate with whichever state oversight seed to sale system gets put in place. In this case it’s METRC™, and most cannabis inventory or grow tracking softwares have already integrated to with the METRC™ API to automatically import or export daily package and manifest data.
Even if a licensee or its staff are credentialed in another state, each individual is required to undergo new METRC™ training.