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Metrc API: What Cannabis Companies Need to Know

If you’re a licensed cannabis company, chances are, you’re very familiar with the challenges that come with the territory.

You’re managing multiple data sources, systems, and processes that must remain in-sync and compliant — 24/7.

Otherwise, your business becomes vulnerable to the kinds of risks that can get you shut down, fined, even convicted.

Because of the high-risk nature of the cannabis industry, many organizations turn to Metrc-compliant software — which handles the seed-to-sale function required by state and federal law.

Integrating your ERP system with Metrc compliant software can help you streamline data management activities and get closer to establishing that “single source of truth,” that enables true digital transformation.

In these next few sections, we’ll explain exactly what that means, how it differs from traditional Metrc integrations, and what this approach stands to do for your business. Read on to learn more.

The Metrics on Metrc

Before we dig in, let’s quickly explain what Metrc is and how it works.

So, Metrc (short for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) is a cloud-based app designed to ensure safety and transparency for cannabis consumers.

The goal is to provide inventory and transactional data to regulators, ensuring compliance with each state’s individual requirements. Essentially, Metrc serves as a single source of truth for everything related to the growth, processing, packaging, distribution, and sale of cannabis products.

Additionally, Metrc uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to track cannabis plants starting at the moment they become viable. Each RFID tag comes embedded with a chip containing coded regulatory information. So, any time a tag is scanned, the system verifies the plant’s unique ID, preventing counterfeit products from making their way into the market.

While Metrc’s emphasis on transparency, compliance, and security is largely a positive thing, it does present some barriers when it comes to streamlining operations and getting the most from your data.

As it stands, you can streamline certain data management activities within a Metrc license, but not between licenses. There’s a block in place that prevents the submission of manifests from outside of the Metrc tracking system.

As an example, the out-of-the-box API connection offers retailers greater bi-directional communication between systems. But – companies that cultivate, process, or distribute cannabis products will bump up against silos between the state tracking system, inbound and outbound manifest data, and other parts of the business.

That intentional chokepoint around manifest data forces licensed operators to catch and reconcile errors prior to products going off-site (or coming on-site from other licensed operators), and prevents incorrect versions of manifest data from entering the Metrc database.

So, in those cases, managing and integrating Metrc data with the rest of the tech stack can easily turn into a full-time job, requiring a dedicated team to sync and verify data accuracy across all systems.

Benefits of Using Metrc API With Your Cannabis ERP

Most data related to inventory, sales, and other critical operations can be sent from your ERP to Metrc (and vice versa) with a system integrator — an API that provides deeper integration between Metrc and the rest of the system.

Velosio’s Metric API enables direct integration between Metrc-compliant software and Dynamics 365 Business Central. As a result, cannabis companies can avoid some of their biggest software challenges and secure a competitive advantage.

Here’s a look at some of the key benefits this level of Metrc-integration brings to the table:

1. Work From One Set of Master Data

With the Metrc API integration, you can set up master records in your ERP, make changes, and manipulate data – without leaving your D365 dashboard. Users can create products, locations, units of measure, product categories, reason codes, and strains (for cultivation) in BC — and those updates will automatically sync back to Metrc.

This reduces the likelihood of human error and also ensures consistency between Metrc and D365. This means that all reports generated from either system will provide the same information re: sales, inventory, finance, and more.

2. Inventory, Manufacturing, Tag Management

Managing physical inventory and record-keeping required is a challenge for all cannabis companies. They’re responsible for creating, maintaining, and storing time-sensitive and highly-detailed inventory and production records that track all movement, manufacturing, testing, and more for any regulated goods.

Essentially, they need to keep an up-to-date and exact account of inventory by UID (Unique ID) tags — a process that can be incredibly time-consuming if using a standalone Metrc-compliant solution.

Using the API, cannabis companies can view, maintain, and reconcile inventory by UID from the ERP system. And, those changes will be reflected inside Metrc.

As a result, cannabis companies stand to significantly reduce opportunities for human error. And, at the same time, they’ll also gain much more granular visibility into inventory and business processes — thanks to the inherent strengths of the cloud-based ERP.

3. Manifests for Purchasing and Sales

The Metrc API facilitates manifest documents for outbound shipments by sending data keyed into Business Central to Metrc. That information might include cannabis licenses, driver information, package details, and more. Users can also create reusable templates to streamline the process and reduce time spent on manual data entry tasks.

4. Cultivation Activities

Data input for teams focused on cultivation activities within cannabis facilities is often the most labor-intensive task for users. This, coupled with consistent growth and change within operations, adds another layer of complexity for cannabis companies.

The API solves this issue, allowing users to manage data pertaining to cloning, phase changes, destruction of inventory and the final harvest via Business Central – then automatically syncing back to Metrc in real-time.

5. Certificates of Analysis & Test Results

Tracking test results and certificates of analysis from third-party labs is another time-consuming, error-prone process for cannabis companies – particularly those using multiple systems to run their business. This often creates much more data than businesses anticipate, making it hard to keep it all organized and secure.

The Metrc API allows users to pull test result data from Metrc directly into Dynamics BC — data that you’d typically need to manually re-enter into the ERP.

This means that data can be transmitted directly from Metrc and imported into inventory or QC documents. In turn, users can work within a single system, offering more sophisticated QC tracing and another layer of insights that can be used to make critical business decisions.

6. User Traceability

The Metrc API integration gives cannabis companies greater assurance that end-user actions are tracked and documented across both systems accurately. Each user is provisioned a unique API key provisioned in Metrc, which means all changes made to the system can be traced back to the individual.

7. System Data Reconciliation

It doesn’t matter how careful or detail-oriented your team is, they’re human. And as such, they’re prone to human error. Improper use, unplanned operational events, even simple data entry mistakes demand a reliable process for reconciling data between Metrc and the ERP and creating an auditable transactional record.

The Metrc API gives users access to a specialized tool that aligns the two systems and surfaces errors or mistakes. For example, you might pull a report showing all existing inventory in both Metrc and D365 BC, then adjust the quantities to ensure consistent, accurate record-keeping across both systems.

Final Thoughts

While cannabis companies can technically enter data across multiple systems and keep their business afloat, it’s far from ideal.

Best case scenario, you’re working with a process that’s frustrating and time-consuming – practice introduces a high level of risk.

The Metrc API gives cannabis companies the ability to streamline business processes and spend more time on activities that generate value for the business and its customers.
To learn more about Velosio’s cannabis compliance and D365 solutions, contact us today.


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