METRC and State Compliance Updates: Look to the Future of Compliance

by Santos, Osiris

METRC provides integration to ezGren HIPAA-compliant seed-to-sale tracking dispensaries and regulators.

https://unsplash.com/photos/nWvWBV0sv04

In California, Maryland, and other states throughout the country, voters approved cannabis legislation and with that came strict state and local regulations that have had consistent refinement as the industry matures.  Compliance is one of the most important provisions attached to medical and recreational marijuana laws. These states promised voters that there would be a robust supply chain system in place, however in some states, the regulations are strict and limiting. 

Seed-to-sale tracking is the primary way states expect to keep marijuana from being diverted to the black market and minors.  As we all know, some of it is working and some of it is not.   The regulatory platforms are to there to allow dispensaries and regulators to keep tabs on every individual cannabis plant being cultivated in the state and to determine the movement of each plant through the marketplace.

Multiple platform developers have put forth bids for lucrative seed-to-sale state contracts. The largest of these is Franwell, whose METRC solution is the tool of choice for 11 US states, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Maryland.

What Is METRC?

METRC is a cloud-hosted compliance management solution that allows regulators and law enforcement agencies to oversee the marijuana industry in their state. It is a web application and service platform that integrates sales data with industry and regulatory information to account for an entire state’s cannabis market.

METRC allows cannabis cultivators, processors, dispensaries, testing facilities, and regulators to interact with one another in real-time, scanning plants and packages as they move through the marketplace. Without a system like this in place, effectively managing the production and sale of cannabis products would require an enormous bureaucratic workforce, which would drive the cost of doing business towards unsustainable heights.  Some of these procedures take their lead from the food safety industry – but much refinement is needed.

With METRC, tagged plant data can be captured and entered into the cloud-based system. Regulators can then follow each individual plant through the harvesting, processing, testing, packaging, distribution, and sales processes. As a result, consumers, regulators, and law enforcement can look at any cannabis product and immediately determine which specific plant it ultimately derives from.

The medical marijuana industry is starting to follow the same rules as pharmaceutical companies regarding HIPAA compliance. METRC provides cannabis professionals with a ready-to-use, HIPAA-compliant reporting platform.

Challenges to Using METRC in the Dispensary

Running a modern business is too demanding a task for manual payment processing and reporting. At the same time, cannabis dispensary owners confront steep challenges on the way to success. Beside complicated regulations and a high barrier to entry on the market, most dispensaries must make do without access to institutional financing.

Payment processing is the one place where all of these factors combine. Instead of being a simple operation, accepting payment for cannabis products is a complex process that even the most reliable budtenders will eventually introduce errors into.

For dispensary owners, using METRC can seem like a tedious, repetitive task that stretches already-thin employee hours to their limit. Every single incoming product must be entered into the system, and every sale must be accounted for. 

This is too much work for a cashier or budtender to accomplish while serving customers and patients at the same time. Dispensary owners who try this tactic quickly learn that it leads to problematic wait times, data entry irregularities, and potentially ruinous compliance issues.

Automating Product and Transaction Reporting from POS to METRC thru API Integration

To use METRC effectively, dispensary owners need to integrate their point-of-sale (POS) solution thru state approved API key integration points with the system.  Point of sale patient information data should automatically sync with METRC whenever a product is moved within the dispensary or chain of custody transfers to a patient.

This kind of automation is already widespread in most retail industries. However, while solutions like Vend are easy for coffee shops, retail boutiques, and restaurants to implement, they can’t serve the needs of regulation-bound dispensary owners. HIPAA regulation is also the primary reason why you won’t find popular POS solutions in pharmacies or hospitals.

What dispensary owners need is a retail POS system that integrates with METRC and allows for state-of-the-art inventory management control from a HIPAA-compliant interface. This enables the dispensary to streamline its regulatory processes and spend more time and energy focusing on customer needs.

EZGreen Compliance makes this possible by providing dispensaries with an open API for seed-to-sale integration. Fully integrated, HIPAA-compliant point-of-sale software ensures that cannabis dispensary owners can enter inventory data, report sales, and complete packages automatically, giving regulators all the information they need while streamlining the in-store experience for patients and customers.

EZGreen simplifies payment processing and reporting processes through five crucial features:

  • Best-in-Class Flexibility. Dispensaries that have already invested in inventory management and payment processing software can integrate EZGreen with ease. The system’s open API architecture makes it compatible in a broad range of retail environments.
  • Guaranteed Compliance. EZGreen acts as your personal compliance officer, monitoring state cannabis laws and adjusting your dispensary’s processing infrastructure to match. All of this happens behind the scenes, so dispensary owners don’t have to spend hours researching the latest developments in the world of cannabis compliance.
  • Comprehensive Cybersecurity. EZGreen’s point-of-sale processes are powered by Automated Healthcare Systems. Our technology provider hasn’t suffered a single HIPAA violation in 16+ years and uses the latest data storage and encryption techniques to ensure stable operation.
  • Future-proof Design. The cannabis industry is in its infancy, and it’s virtually guaranteed that the market will undergo growth pains in the future. Dispensary owners with an eye on long-term success can rely on EZGreen to provide a robust foundation for cost-efficiency and transparency well into the future.
  • Compliance Training and 24-Hour Support. Excellent support goes far beyond being available 24/7 to deal with technical issues. Our experts will train and certify your dispensary’s compliance team to ensure you remain on the cutting edge of HIPAA regulation and data security.  (Click here to schedule an ezGreen Demo).

Investing in the appropriate technology solutions today can ensure that your business and dispensary is well-suited to meet the demands of tomorrow’s cannabis market. METRC is here to stay, and your business processes need to integrate with its systems as closely as possible. Rely on EZGreen to provide your dispensary with the tools it needs to prosper and stay in compliance with HIPAA and the FDA as they are both on their way to the industry very soon.

Leave a Reply