7 Metrc Mistakes Cannabis Distributors Make

April 23, 2024
August 31, 2020
| Updated
January 19, 2023
Angie Penuela

On a beautiful summer day, Heather logs into her computer to carry out, what she hopes, is the final task of her day: carry out a R&D test.

She looks up Package XXX05, creates a test sample and transfers it to her lab.

The next day, Heather realizes that her package’s status has changed from NotSubmitted to SubmittedForTesting. How could this be? Surely, she thinks, this is only for compliance testing?

Frustrated, yet optimistic, she hopes she can ameliorate this situation. She contacts the lab and tells them what happened.

Only then she realizes that instead of adjusting the package for the R&D test, she had created a test sample by mistake. Now she will have to miss the dinner she had planned with her friends.

Do you recognize the feeling?

You’re not alone.

Mistakes like these are commonplace amongst cannabis operators, and although such errors happen frequently, preparation and knowledge can minimize how often they occur.

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Below is a list of 7 Metrc mistakes cannabis distributors can avoid. While this list is not exhaustive by any means, ensure that your team members are cognizant of these so that they do not need to miss their dinner plans with their friends!

1. Creating the Wrong Item Name / Category and Not Recognizing It

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Licensees have to create items and strains all the time depending on which products they are producing and carrying. These include everything from bulk to work-in-process products to finished goods. These items can be created directly in Metrc under the Admin section of the app, and require just a few details such as name, unit of measure, category, ‘strain’ if its a flower related category, and unit weight if the item will be counted as each, or individual units.

Sometimes items are created incorrectly, either with incorrect names or unit of measure and so forth. Items can be edited unless they are used, after which point you have to create a new item. If you create items with an incorrect name or a name that is not distinct enough from existing item(s), you or your team mates may be unable to recognize or differentiate them when re-packaging, causing inventory issues.

The idea here is to use proper naming conventions and be as consistent as possible.


2. Forgetting to Order Tags


Package tags are the lifeblood of a cannabis operation. They can be ordered and accepted inside of Metrc directly in the Admin section. Package tags take 1-2 weeks to arrive typically, although that window may have shortened since we last checked. Each set of tags can be ordered only one at a time, meaning that you must wait for your first set to arrive and receive it before ordering your next set.

Each licensee has a different limit on the number of tags they can order in a set—a limit that is visible in Metrc at the time of ordering. Once your tags arrive, you need to mark them as received so that you can start using them. Since there is no rule around how early you can order tags, feel free to order tags even a month ahead of you anticipating to run out, or even earlier. Just don’t forget!

3. Voiding an Outgoing Transfer After It Has Departed


Regulations allow licensees to create transfers up to 24 hours before the time of departure. Most operators create transfers the night before or the morning of, allowing them to download and print the shipping manifest—one of the documents that drivers must carry during delivery.

Sometimes the need arises for the originating licensee to cancel a transfer after it has departed, in cases such as the customer no longer wanting the delivery, a sale falling through, bad driving conditions and so on. The option of cancelling a transfer is known as voiding a transfer—something that can only be completed by the originating licensee. Transfers can be voided from the Outgoing tab on the Licensed Transfers page by selecting the transfer and selecting the Void button.

Voiding a transfer causes the transfer to be fully canceled and all associated packages to be returned to the originating licensee’s inventory. While this is an important feature, we recommend not doing this once a transfer has departed. The main reason is because of section 5314 in the BCC regulations which states: A licensed distributor shall not void or change a shipping manifest after departing from the originating licensed premises.

Thus voiding or altering a transfer post-departure would be a clear violation of this section.

Also the rules imply that the driver is supposed to travel to the receiving licensee without deviating from the route. Once the driver reaches the receiving licensee’s location, have them ‘reject’ the transfer.  This is the best practice to follow as it allows you to follow regulatory guidelines and avoid voiding a transaction mid-delivery whereby the packages are automatically assumed to be returned to your warehouse even though they are physically with your driver.

NOTE: If transporting using the Transfers Hub, the transporter is not able to alter or void the transfer once the transport has departed. Transporters depart by selecting the Depart button that automatically records the actual departure date / time from the originating facility.

4. Marking a Transfer Received Before Physically Receiving It


The transfers functionality in Merc is used every time cannabis is moved between licensees. When an outgoing transfer is initiated, the receiving licensee must double check the package(s) in the transfer prior to receiving them, to ensure the quantity written on the manifest matches what is in the physical packages. Another way for the originating licensee to receive inventory is when package(s) on an outgoing transfer are rejected by the receiving licensee. When this happens, the driver takes back the rejected goods physically and the warehouse manager then goes into Metrc to receive the rejected items in the Transfers > Rejected section. This is also an important time to check and ensure the driver brings back the complete / correct items that were rejected.  

While there may be a need to quickly get the packages on the transfer into live inventory so for salespeople to sell, resist the urge to do so until you have double checked the package(s) to make sure the whole amount is there. Although not a common occurrence, things can get misplaced during transportation and accepting something not in your possession means you will be liable for that inventory.

5. Creating a Production Batch from An Already Tested Package


Sample packages for testing can be created directly in Metrc by Distributors and Microbusinesses by selecting the `Submit For Testing` button at the point they are about to be taken by a lab rep for testing. Once the sample is created and transferred to the lab, the lab directly updates the testing status of the source package being tested to `TestPassed` or `TestFailed` etc.

Packages created then from source packages with test results inherit the test result, unless the `Production Batch` box is checked, which is typically used to identify concentrates, infused edibles or infused non-edibles at the time they are made. While there are many licensees using Production Batches incorrectly, you don’t have to, and especially not when creating a package from an existing package that has already tested and passed. This is because checking the box resets the test results back to NotSubmitted on the package.

This isn’t super problematic though since you can Discontinue the package and create it again.

NOTE: An existing package cannot be marked as a Production Batch; only packages that are being created can.

6. Adjusting Packages when You Should Discontinue


Metrc offers the option of discontinuing packages that are created from existing packages. Those with permissions can discontinue packages by clicking the [x] to the far right of the package, causing the inventory to go back into the source package from which it was created. Please note that this action can only be done inside of Metrc, not via the API.

There are various scenarios in which users may want to discontinue a package, such as in the case when an incorrect Metrc item was selected when creating a package out of an existing package. If this happens, users can change the item the package belongs to by selecting `Changing Item` on the package within 24 hours of its creation. After that window, the only option will be to discontinue.

Another mistake that can happen is when a user specifies an incorrect amount on the output package being created from an existing package. In this case the best practice is to discontinue the package, not adjust it, even though you can adjust it. Why?

Adjustment reasons are defined by the State of California and include a variety of reasons from display sample usage to R&D testing. One of these reasons is `incorrect quantity` which should be used when a package is received via a transfer that was incorrectly weighed or counted. Although this would seem like the right thing to do, adjustments can trigger an alarm with the government if the adjustments are over 3%, so use adjustments sparingly.

7. Creating a Test Sample or New Package and Sending to Lab when Doing an R&d Test


As mentioned earlier, test samples can be created and transferred to labs in an outgoing transfer for lab testing purposes. This should only be done for compliance testing for bulk flower or retail-ready finished goods inventory because that is what ‘Create Test Samples’ feature is for.

R&D tests are separate from compliance tests in that they do not warrant the creation of a test sample nor the transfer of a package to a lab. Transferring anything to a lab, even if it is a regular package and not a lab test sample, triggers a compliance test flow—requiring a lab to test it and update its testing status in Metrc.

Instead, you should use the `adjustments` feature, using the reason `Research and Development` to adjust the package you wish to R&D test and give it to a lab without transferring anything.


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