California cannabis doesn’t understand new track and trace system

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The new system is confusing cannabis companies and raising concerns about the future

California recently introduced Metrc, the Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance, system. It is designed to track and trace marijuana to create better transparency and is now mandatory for all cannabis companies in the state. However, instead of creating a more transparent picture, it has gotten muddier and cannabis companies are worried about how it will be implemented and expanded.

Metrc, also known as CCCT, is proving to be confusing for some businesses. While it seemed like a good idea when it was first announced, it has since turned into somewhat of a nightmare, with many unsure how to comply with regulations that govern the system.

There is also concern that the mandatory bar codes required to be used in accordance with Metrc will cover important information on the cannabis package, including required government warnings.

Metrc was first introduced at the beginning of January. Currently, only those with annual licenses – not those with temporary licenses – are required to use the system, and this is exacerbating the issue, as well. One retailer was told by a point-of-sale software salesman not to implement the system until a determination was made regarding whether or not annual license holders will be able to transaction with those who only hold temporary licenses.

The unidentified retailer was told by the rep that he had “heard from another retailer that the state has told them to pause for now.” The retailer added, “He said, ‘… If we migrate you over and we incorporate your inventory, you might have problems purchasing from any distributor that’s not on Metrc.’”

That position is not supported by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Its communications manager, Rebecca Forée, explained, “On the contrary, CDFA is actively contacting licensees who have not yet been credentialed into the CCTT system and reminding them that they must become credentialed to remain in compliance with the terms of their state cannabis licenses.”

What is confirmed is that the temporary licensees do not have to use the system, which creates a disconnect in the chain and goes against the very problem Metrc was trying to resolve. It also contradicts a notice sent by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which told thousands of cannabis business owners that all of their transactions had to be recorded in Metrc.

Josh Drayton of the California Cannabis Industry Association said it best when he asserted, “I think we’re going to see these challenges throughout the whole year. There are many unknowns, so many regulatory changes.”