Retail ID and Universal Product Catalog Announced

On May 21st, 2024, Meadow sponsored a Metrc User Exchange event in Detroit, MI. This event brought together licensees from across Michigan’s supply chain to hear directly from Metrc leaders about the future of cannabis Track and Trace.

Meadow Sponsored CA Metrc User Exchange Event 2024

The main focus of the event was on recognizing areas for improvement, gathering user feedback, and sharing Metrc's roadmap of upcoming features.

This complimentary event offered a unique opportunity to learn from and connect with Metrc leadership, product experts, and local peers.

If you missed it, here's a recap of what we learned:

Metrc, the market leader in cannabis track and trace systems, boasts over 400,000 users across the United States. Their commitment to maintaining this leadership includes enhancing performance, fixing bugs, and improving support and training.

To support their users, Metrc has added new videos and training materials to their website and posted all relevant bulletins for Michigan here: Metrc Michigan Partner Resources. They have also expanded their support team to ensure faster response times when users encounter issues. For example, you can now read more about Mastering Metrc: Expert Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

The insights shared in Detroit mirrored those from the User Exchange events held in California, demonstrating Metrc’s dedication to nationwide improvements and consistent support for the efficiency of the cannabis industry. Metrc’s ongoing efforts to listen to feedback and continually upgrade their system highlight their pivotal role in the industry’s growth and evolution.

For more details about the event, visit the official page: Metrc User Exchange Michigan.

The most exciting part of this event was the announcement of two major upcoming features: Retail ID and a Universal Product Catalog. These new tools are set to streamline operations and enhance user experience.

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:

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:

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.

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

Ability to Search Across Multiple Licenses

Metrc users in Michigan expressed a strong need for the ability to search across multiple licenses simultaneously. Currently, users have to search each license individually to locate a specific package. This process is time-consuming and inefficient, especially for those managing multiple licenses. Implementing a multi-license search functionality would significantly streamline operations, saving time and reducing the potential for errors.

Ability to Scan Packages to Confirm Package ID During Receipt

Another key request was for the ability to scan packages to confirm package IDs as they are being received. Distributors sometimes send the wrong UID/product, and intake doesn't always catch these mistakes. By enabling package scanning at the point of receipt, Metrc could help prevent these errors, ensuring that only the correct products are accepted and logged into the system. This would enhance accuracy and reliability in inventory management. Perhaps this will be resolved with the release of Retail ID.

Support for Package Expiration Dates

Users also requested that Metrc add support for package expiration dates, a feature already supported in other states. This functionality is crucial for maintaining product quality and compliance with state regulations. Including expiration dates in the tracking system would help licensees better manage their inventory, ensuring that products are sold before they expire and reducing waste. With Meadow POS, though, you can do this today with your inventory after it’s received in Metrc.

Longer Auto-Logout Time Limit

The current auto-logout time limit in Michigan is shorter than in other states due to requirements from the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) which can be frustrating. Users have requested that this time limit be extended to improve convenience and workflow efficiency. While Metrc has explained that the shorter time limit is a regulatory requirement, ongoing discussions with the CRA could potentially lead to a more flexible solution that balances security with user needs.

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.

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 are 3 concerns we heard from retailers who are not operating with Meadow POS:

#1. Significant Losses: A Need for Inventory Management Tools

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.

#2. The Meadow Difference: No More Negative Packages

Another frequently mentioned problem that doesn’t exist in Meadow is negative packages. Many retailers shared their struggles with other point of sale systems reporting on the wrong package tag until it goes below zero, resulting in a negative package count. This issue can be a significant challenge to untangle and fix, causing disruptions and inaccuracies in inventory management. What is a negative package, anyway? Negative inventory is impossible!

Metrc itself won’t stop packages from going negative, but your inventory and point of sale system should never allow that. Users reported that these negative package issues often stem from system errors or incorrect data entry, leading to confusion and extra work to reconcile inventory discrepancies.

At Meadow, we’ve designed our system to prevent negative packages entirely. Our POS software ensures that inventory levels are accurately tracked and updated in real-time, so you never have to worry about packages going below zero. This reliability is critical for maintaining accurate inventory records, streamlining operations, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

#3. It’s Currently Possible! Finish Packages via Metrc’s API

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.

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

Learn more about Meadow POS

10 Years experience growing successful dispensaries

What’s next for Meadow?

At Meadow, we're committed to ongoing collaboration with Metrc to enhance the retail experience for our clients. We’re excited about the new features on the horizon and are always open to hearing your suggestions for further improvements. Your feedback is invaluable, and we ensure it reaches Metrc during our regular sync-ups.

Coming Soon: Deli-Style Functionality

Meadow currently supports pre-packaged flower workflows at the point of sale. We are in the process of building support for scale-integrated deli-style operations.

Deli-style means flower is weighed out from a clear storage container for each purchase, providing a more personalized and flexible shopping experience. In contrast, pre-packaged flower is weighed out and packaged ahead of time, ensuring consistency and convenience.

We understand that Michigan operators should have support for any retail model, and we are working on these updates as we expand through Michigan’s market. At Meadow, we take user feedback and turn it into key features, and we look forward to sharing these updates with our clients.

Read more: Meadow expands beyond California, bringing its cannabis point of sale platform to Michigan, Tech Crunch

You asked, we built it: Trade Sample Management Tools

Among the issues raised at the event, trade samples were a prominent topic, primarily because all license types can interact with them, leading to potential friction. The main confusion arises from the inconsistent use of the "trade sample" flag in Metrc by different brands and distributors.

Trade samples are:

  • No tax applied
  • Limited in quantity by regulations
  • Can only be given to employees of the licensee
  • Marked with a briefcase 💼 tag in Metrc
  • Must be removed from inventory using a package adjustment with the reason “trade sample” and the recipient’s details recorded

In contrast, penny samples are:

  • Taxed
  • No limits in regulation
  • Can be sold to employees or customers (purchase limits apply)
  • Reported to Metrc as sales, not package adjustments

In Meadow, you can manage trade samples and remain in compliance without having to manage these packages in Metrc or incorporate them into a sale. Our tools ensure compliance, organization, and ease of use, allowing you to focus on running your business smoothly and efficiently.

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An iPad running Meadow's Point of Sale system