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Metrc: How to Stay Ahead and Maximize Efficiency (NCIA Webinar)


Metrc is the cannabis traceability system of choice for a growing majority of legalized states, including California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Nevada.  

Compliance with the statewide system is mandatory, but the details on how marijuana dispensaries and recreational cannabis stores must use Metrc vary from state to state. That has resulted in plenty of confusion and concern about the impact to retail operations, especially how much time and effort it will take retailers to stay compliant.

To help cannabis retailers prepare and put some fears to rest, Cova and Headset teamed up for a free NCIA webinar on Metrc: How to Stay Ahead & Maximize Efficiency. It covered how dispensary technology can help you work more effectively with Metrc, and further identify opportunities for better efficiency in your store operations.

How to Stay Ahead and Maximize Cannabis Dispensary Efficiency with Metrc 

Metrc (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) is a traceability system used by many states to monitor operators, receive reports, and track cannabis from “seed to sale.” As a retail operator, you must report any movement of cannabis to Metrc, as outlined in your state’s regulations.

There is no universally correct way to use the Metrc system. It is up to each state to determine how the system will be used to track cannabis, and what your specific responsibilities will be.

Metrc doesn’t help you sell product or manage your inventory. For that you’ll need a cannabis retail POS, and to save time and avoid a lot of double entry, you’ll want a Metrc-certified POS system.

Metrc Certification and Integration

To integrate with Metrc, a POS must earn certification. This involves the following steps:

  • Getting API access
  • Passing a test
  • Signing an agreement with Metrc
In addition, there are different levels of integration with Metrc. To get the best compliance solutions and most convenience, look for a POS that offers full integration. This ensures real-time reports are sent to Metrc, manifest intake is automated, and inventory adjustments with Metrc reason codes are synced to the state traceability system.

Real-Time Sales Reports to Metrc

With basic integration you can submit daily batch reports to Metrc, but a fully integrated POS will automatically send each sale or refund to Metrc in real time. This eliminates the extra step of manually submitting your report, or the risk of forgetting to do so, and saves you from dealing with potential errors at the end of the day.


Manifest Intake

All retailers must receive inventory in Metrc. It’s not a step you can skip. But the right POS system can make it easy to import that manifest and save you a lot of time. In the case of Cova, the system will show you all manifests received in Metrc in the past 24 hours. You can then pull the inventory into the POS, where all data will auto-populate. There’s no need for double entry.

Cannabis POS Metrc Manifest Intake

Inventory Adjustments

This is another example of automation saving a lot of time and eliminating the need for double entry. You need to report any kind of inventory adjustment to Metrc, whether it’s due to product spoilage, theft, or entry error. A fully integrated POS will give you the option of selecting adjustments with corresponding Metrc reason codes. These adjustments will automatically sync with Metrc.


Metrc Onboarding

A fully integrated point of sale system can save you a lot of time working with Metrc day-to-day, but setting up your dispensary to be Metrc compliant involves a few steps. These can vary from state to state, but inevitably take up time. Setting up Metrc in California, for example requires the following steps:

  • Sending API key and license number to your POS provider
  • Tagging all your existing inventory with Metrc tags
  • Logging into Metrc UI to set up all products, matching with them with the Metrc-provided physical tags
  • Logging into your POS to receive inventory with Metrc tag numbers so it’s reflected in your catalog


This can be undeniably time-consuming, as are a lot of regulatory burdens in the cannabis industry. But the folks at Headset, a leader in real-time analytics, offer some best practices on how you can use reports to improve efficiency and get back some of your time.

How to Leverage Metrc Analytics at Your Cannabis Dispensary 

Real-time analytics offer retailers the opportunity to turn the POS data they're already collecting into actionable reports that help you manage inventory and ultimately ensure your margins are being met. These automated reports can save you a ton of time compared to crunching numbers in spreadsheets, and even more money versus failing to identify trends altogether.

Inventory Coverage

It pays to know your stock ratio, and it helps to see a real-time visual of which vendors' products are overstocked, which are understocked, and which are in the “Goldilocks zone”.  It’s critical to manage surplus inventory, so money that could be better spent growing your business isn’t tied up in your back room. There are things you can do immediately to reduce overstocked inventory—like decrease order frequency or run vendor promotions—and the sooner you know where to focus your efforts the better. Maintaining accurate coverage is critical to meeting your business margins.

Cannabis Retail Analytics

Identifying Fast-Moving vs. Slow-Moving Product

Ideally, the product coming into your store should be equivalent to the product moving out. When you can view turnover as graphical data, comparing—for example—units in stock to units sold in any given time frame makes discrepancies obvious and underscores overstocked products. Once you’ve identified excess product that isn’t selling, it’s time to rethink your sales strategy to get that vendor’s product moving. This is where your POS data insights can help you substantially.

Cannabis Retail Analytics

Impact Analysis

The cannabis retail data you’ve been collecting all along can help you predict the impact of future sales. With the right analytics, you can run an impact analysis—based on previous promotions or loyalty programs you’ve run—to see the expected performance of a theoretical sales campaign over time compared to actual performance if you change nothing. You can see the results in terms of units sold or dollar amounts, allowing you to make calculated decisions on how to get excess inventory off your shelves and ensure you’re getting the best ROI and meeting your margins.

Cannabis Retail AnalyticsThe right technology goes a long way to provide shortcuts, free up your time, and boost your bottom line. Picking the right technology partner can help you get the most out of the tools and better understand the solutions they provide. For more information on how you can turn your cannabis retail data into real-time, easy-to-understand insights, check out the Headset website. To see how Cova POS can help you simplify compliance with full Metrc integration and hands-on training, book a demo today.


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