California’s track-and-trace system slowly spreading by marijuana provide chain, however hiccups stay


The marijuana stock monitoring system for the world’s largest cannabis market – California – isn’t absolutely on-line, regardless of its rollout in January. But it surely’s getting there.

The sluggish transition to the brand new system concerned confusion, complications and further prices, business watchers observe, reinforcing that legalization has introduced with it a brand new world of purple tape.

“Observe-and-trace is like going to the dentist. You don’t wish to do it, however you must,” quipped Terra Carver, govt director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

By and huge, California’s marijuana firms are dealing efficiently with the day by day logistics of reporting product stock to the state by the California Hashish Observe-and-Hint system (CCTT). It’s powered by Metrc, made by Florida-based Franwell.

However the system continues to show successfully symbolic in some ways, a number of business consultants stated, as a result of not each authorized firm has began utilizing it – solely these with provisional or annual licenses, in distinction to the non permanent enterprise permits underneath which the complete business operated all through 2018.

Meaning there isn’t full accountability to regulators for each authorized product that makes its method by the provision chain.

Consequently, many which are pressured to make use of the system additionally don’t actually see the purpose, apart from it being one other state mandate.

“It’s a patchwork,” stated Josh Drayton, communications director for the California Hashish Trade Affiliation.

“We’re not seeing it work its method right through the provision chain. Which finally means it’s type of a damaged system in the mean time,” Drayton added.

“It’s not giving us the information that everybody is trying to see, which is: How are we competing in opposition to the illicit market, and are merchandise being diverted?”

Newest numbers

Three California companies have been busy for months processing annual license purposes, they usually have been granting provisional permits to many candidates to allow them to proceed working legally whereas awaiting their annuals. All non permanent permits will expire by the tip of July.

When a enterprise will get its provisional license, it’s required to start out the method of getting on CCTT. That’s difficult sufficient, so many firms employed full-time workers to navigate the system.

As of July 26, the California Division of Meals and Agriculture (CDFA), which oversees growers, had issued 231 annual marijuana cultivation licenses and 1,753 provisional permits, with one other 662 accepted however ready for price cost, and one other 2,613 which are nonetheless within the course of.

There are nonetheless 602 energetic non permanent licenses, and the company didn’t have any projections round what number of annual or provisional licenses will probably be in place at that time or by the tip of the yr. A CDFA spokeswoman additionally declined to say what number of growers are already importing knowledge into CCTT, noting that such info is confidential.

The Division of Public Well being, which licenses solely MJ producers, has issued 711 annual or provisional licenses thus far, of which about 300 are already importing knowledge into CCTT, an company spokesman confirmed.

The company nonetheless has 140 energetic non permanent licenses and estimated that there will probably be roughly 900 provisional or annual licenses by the tip of July.

The Bureau of Hashish Management (BCC), which oversees all different MJ enterprise varieties, has issued 43 annual permits, one other 1,011 provisional permits and nonetheless has 1,355 energetic non permanent permits.

There are also one other 768 provisionals or annuals which are accepted however awaiting price cost. BCC chief Lori Ajax stated lately that her prime precedence is getting all non permanent licenses transitioned to not less than provisionals – if not annuals – in order that they gained’t need to droop operations.

Difficulties abound

One of many extra frequent complaints about CCTT is from retailers who – as a result of they’ve acquired provisional or annual licenses – will need to have distinctive identifier tags on all merchandise.

However that’s created a chicken-before-the-egg state of affairs, as a result of a number of growers and producers aren’t but working on the identical required system. So, product usually nonetheless reveals up at retail areas with out these tags.

Due to this fact, retailers should order tags themselves and sticker all merchandise, which implies further labor prices.

“I’m imagining everybody coming in after-hours and sitting round stickering issues. We’re going to need to pay for time beyond regulation,” stated Monica Grey, CEO of San Rafael-based Good Guys Supply.

Grey lately took the CCTT/Metrc coaching course and ordered the tags she wants, which she estimated will probably be about 80% of her stock.

Loads of different points exist as properly, stated Juli Crockett, director of compliance with Los Angeles-based MMLG Consulting.

As an example, she famous there’s one point-of-sale software program system utilized by retailers that isn’t set as much as interface correctly with CCTT, or account for the shortage of knowledge from supply-chain factors of origin, equivalent to cultivators or producers nonetheless working on non permanent licenses.

That’s forcing some retailers on that software program system to actually invent info simply to get to the subsequent step with CCTT, Crockett stated.

“You will have people who find themselves having to generate false info simply to get their stuff within the (CCTT) system,” Crockett stated. “So as to make the information exist, you’re having to create a backstory that’s fictitious.”

A central difficulty, Crockett and others stated, is that the underlying program that helps the stock monitoring system, Metrc, wasn’t designed with California’s difficult provide chain in thoughts. It’s extra according to easier state methods equivalent to Colorado’s, which doesn’t require necessary distribution, for example.

Franwell, the corporate that owns Metrc, didn’t reply to a request for remark.

There’s additionally a disconnect in some ways between what the state requires and the way CCTT and Metrc really work, stated Graham Farrar, CEO of Glass Home Farms in Santa Barbara County.

That’s led to, for example, cultivators having to weigh crops individually due to how CCTT operates, versus massive batches of crops unexpectedly, which is costing growers extra money and time.

“One of many issues we’d actually love to do is see them reconcile the (state) rules and what the Metrc software program requires … so we’re not throwing away hours and hours of labor each day,” Farrar stated.

However, total, most within the business agreed that the CCTT system will stabilize and finally show helpful.

In the intervening time, nevertheless, it’s extra rising pains for cannabis companies.

John Schroyer may be reached at [email protected]


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