A way for products to go through the supply chain without the need to relabel them - just apply a single label at the point of production and it will follow that product through its life inside and outside of Metrc.

In the 2nd quarter of 2024, Meadow sponsored events hosted by Metrc in Santa Barbara, Irvine and Santa Rosa that brought together licensees from across California’s supply chain.

Meadow Sponsored CA Metrc User Exchange Event 2024

The main theme of the events was recognizing the room Metrc has for improvement, listening to feedback from their users, and sharing their roadmap of upcoming features they are building.

“Hear firsthand from Metrc leaders on what lies ahead in 2024 and beyond as we navigate an ever-changing industry. Plus, hear from Metrc experts on updates to the system and join your peers as they share expertise to help elevate your business, skills, and knowledge.

"This dedicated time will be spent learning about Metrc best practices customized by license type and range from new to advanced, based on the state of California’s regulations and Metrc configurations. Breakout sessions also provide the opportunity to share direct feedback to help us in enhancing our current services and solutions, ultimately to better meet your needs.” - Metrc California User Exchange

For those that didn’t make it (or want a refresher) here’s a little bit of what we learned:

Metrc has over 400,000 users in states across the US. They are the clear market leader in cannabis track and trace systems that states use, and are working hard to keep it that way. This effort includes their focus on shoring up performance, fixing bugs, and improving their support and training.

They’ve recently added new videos and training materials to their website, as well as posting all the bulletins for California: https://www.metrc.com/partner/california/

They’ve also expanded their support team to speed up response times whenever users run into problems and need help. But for most of us, the meat of the presentation was around what’s coming next.

The biggest two features Metrc shared were Retail ID and a Universal Product Catalog.

Retail ID

Retail ID Graphic

Meadow has been working with Metrc on their new “retail ID” concept since 2023, and what they are proposing is very exciting for cannabis businesses:

First look at Metrc's Retail ID functionality
A way for products to go through the supply chain without the need to relabel them - just apply a single label at the point of production and it will follow that product through its life inside and outside of Metrc.

The need to relabel every single unit of product is one of the biggest pain points and costs we hear from retailers, and we’re grateful for the chance to work together on a solution. You can learn more about Metrc's Retail ID here: https://www.metrc.com/retailid/

Universal Product Catalog

We frequently hear from retailers that it can be impossible to track down a product photo or description, or even a brand’s logo, when adding a new product to their menu. We also hear from brands that some retailers don’t always upload pictures or product information that is available.

The end experience is bad for the brand, the retailer and the customer: incomplete menus decrease conversions and basket sizes, and can be confusing for everyone involved.

Metrc’s proposed product catalog would give brands a way to upload product assets like photos, descriptions or other product information, which can then be utilized by the retailer or viewed directly by the customer, saving a huge amount of time for everyone involved.

Also notably mentioned:

CSV Improvements

Metrc User Exchange Event in Irvine and Santa Barbara

According to Metrc, nearly 100% of retailers use an integrated point of sale system like Meadow. Most cultivators do not use integrated software. This means roughly 70% of their users only interact directly with Metrc, rather than an integrated 3rd party. It also means that the only way to upload data is using CSVs.

For anyone uploading CSVs, the updates are huge: increasing the line cap from 500 lines to 10,000 lines, and showing which lines if any specifically caused an error when uploading (instead of rejecting the whole file). These changes definitely made some cultivators happy.

Package History After Transfers

In the past, once a package had been transferred out of your facility you would lose all visibility into its history. Now Metrc has added a “Transferred” tab on the packages screen, so you can view a list of all pacakges that previously existed in your facility but have since been transferred out. This is live now.

240411 - Metrc User Event in Santa Barbara and Irvine

Those are the main points Metrc shared with us. But what did the attendees share with Metrc?

Metrc admits that in the past they’ve built almost exclusively for state governments, sometimes at the expense of the user. Much of the time, they do not have control of what they build and have to respond to legislation and regulation. However, at these events, Metrc spent most of their time focusing on hearing and understanding the priorities of licensees and users, and expressed their desire to work more closely with us to resolve pain points.

Trade Samples vs Penny Samples

Of all the issues we heard raised, trade samples was the frontrunner, mostly because all license types can have interaction with (and friction from) them.

The main point of confusion stems from the fact that some brands/distros use the “trade sample” flag in Metrc and others do not.

Trade samples 💼
  • No tax applied
  • Limited in quantity by regulation (15041.2)
  • Can only be given to employee’s of the licensee
  • Marked with a breifcase 💼 tag in Metrc
  • Must be removed from inventory using a package adjustment with the reason “trade sample” and the details of the recipient recorded.
Penny samples
  • Taxed
  • No limits in regulation
  • Can be sold to employees or customers (purchase limits apply)
  • Reported to Metrc as sales, not package adjustments.

Fixing errors

Another big theme was fixing errors. Metrc isn’t always the most user-friendly piece of software, and they were open to feedback on how they could make it easier to use when something goes wrong:

  • Add an undo button and/or “are you sure?” button before any action that can’t be changed.
  • Edit packages after they’ve been made and edit items already on a manifest

Support & Training

  • Live help chat instead of queuing system so help is available when needed to answer urgent questions.
  • Show revision dates and versions in Metrc user guide. Once users have read four versions of the guide, they’d love to just know where the changes are in version five instead of rereading the whole thing.
  • Check-out their recently published learning materials here.

Read more about Mastering Metrc: Expert Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

More user friendly interface

  • Ability to attach purchase orders or invoices to transfers, so any transfer recipient can view the invoice in advance or confirm it upon receipt.
  • Add digital signatures for manifests via Metrc instead of relying on paper or other systems.
  • Feature to chat other businesses within Metrc, for example when a transfer is on the way or needs to be returned.
  • Email notifications for incoming/outgoing transfers to help make sure everyone is aware of products coming and going.
  • Universal search bar to search package IDs, license numbers, manifest IDs, batch numbers, COAs, etc. from one field.

240411 - Metrc User Exchange Event in Santa Barbara and Irvine

In some cases, Metrc had to clarify what is a limit of their system and what is a limit of the point of sale or other software the licensee is using.

Here’s what we heard from retailers who are not operating with Meadow POS:

Significant Losses Highlight Inventory Management Needs:

One operator we spoke with reported over $2M in losses due to theft and shrinkage last year, underscoring the critical need for robust inventory management and permissions systems which allow operators to maintain tight controls over their products and foster an environment of accountability and trust.

Cycle Counts is a tool included with Meadow, and we’ve seen it dramatically reduce theft and loss, ensure the right product mix on shelves, and smooth the transition to Metrc.

Here are some of the key features of Meadow's Cycle Counts tool:

  • Barcode scanning synced to an iPad or laptop for super fast and accurate counts.
  • Count while you're open using our 'Conflicts' tab, which identifies any changes in inventory (i.e. if someone sells a unit while you are counting inventory, you can easily adjust for the sale).
  • Easy delegation with allowances for multiple employees to do counts simultaneously.
  • Immediate loss/theft detection that notifies you of any discrepancy with your expected inventory.
  • Metrc optimization with drop-downs for counting within Metrc packages.
  • Other smart features, including: notes to record if a product was lost, found, damaged, moved, etc; manager review and approval settings; and summary reports with missing products and conflicts.

The High Cost of Low-Cost Solutions:

Operators expressed frustration with inexpensive solutions leading to larger, more costly problems down the line. The sentiment "cheap solutions are expensive problems" was a recurring theme, emphasizing that initial savings could lead to significant expenses in terms of functionality and reliability.

While some new operators choose a POS software system on price alone, you’ll soon discover you get what you pay for. For instance, if your sales data is not being accurately reported to Metrc, or your tax calculations are not accurate, you may end up with an expensive compliance mistake or tax liability which requires hiring specialized consultants or comes with large fees and audits to untangle, which ends up creating a big headache. Read more about How to Choose a Cannabis Dispensary POS System

Off the Charts and Meadow POS

Dispensary Inventory Management: Cycle Counts

We loved seeing our client Off The Charts and hearing about the results they’re seen since implementing regular cycle counts in Meadow, which can be performed during the day without disrupting operations. This has not only improved inventory accuracy but also increased trust in both the information and the employees handling it. Read more about the DCC's regulatory requirement of counting your inventory and Cycle Counts for Smarter Dispensary Inventory Management.

The Meadow Difference

Finished Packages

One of the most requested features, “finish a package via the API,” has been live with Metrc for a long time, and Meadow uses this feature every day. If a package reaches a quantity of zero, Meadow finishes the package for you in Metrc automatically. If your system doesn’t do that, talk to us :) It’s not a Metrc limitation.

Negative Packages

Another frequently mentioned problem that doesn’t exist in Meadow is negative packages. Many retailers shared struggling with their system reporting on the wrong package tag until it goes below zero, which can be a difficult mess to untangle and fix. Metrc won’t stop packages from going negative, but your inventory and point of sale system should never allow that.

Delivery Ledger Support

In addition to struggling to maintain accurate inventory or perform cycle counts, retailers using other systems also reporting constant headaches with delivery ledgers. The way the feature is built in Metrc follows the strict regulations, which makes it even more important to use a system like Meadow that lets you fix your mistakes and compliantly reports deliveries for you. Read more about this Important Regulatory Update: New California Cannabis Delivery Ledger Requirements & Steps for Compliance

Book a call to learn more about Meadow POS

What’s next?

Meadow will continue working with Metrc to make life easier for retailers. The new features they are working on will be great, but if you have other ideas on how Metrc can improve, please let us know and we’ll share it with their team during our regular sync up.

Meadowlands 2024

Last but not least, Meadowlands is coming up, so mark your calendar: top regulators and industry leaders from across the state will be getting together in Mendocino 9/30-10/3 (right after Hall of Flowers Santa Rosa), and we’d love for you to join. Register for tickets here.

Metrc User Event 2024

Sell More Cannabis with Less Work

Book a Call
An iPad running Meadow's Point of Sale system