As part of our help center series on Metrc, we have put together a basic overview guide on Metrc RFID tags so that you can understand what they are and how they are used.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to substitute for Metrc training.
Metrc utilizes RFID (radio frequency identification) tags to conduct real-time tracking and tracing of cannabis plants and products.
There are two types of tagged cannabis inventory in Metrc; plants and packages.
- Each tag contains the facility name, facility license number, 24-digit unique identification number (UID), tag order date, and the medical or retail designation.
- Tags are color-coded to denote medical cannabis (yellow tags) or retail (i.e., recreational) cannabis (blue tags).
- Metrc tags are single-use only and cannot be reused.
- Tags must be ordered and purchased from Metrc directly; dispensaries cannot create their own and remain compliant.
- Plants tags are utilized to track cannabis plants.
- The tags are physically attached to the plant in its immature phase and stay with it throughout its entire growth cycle.
- These tags are less relevant to dispensaries as they are mainly for cultivators. However, if a dispensary is growing plants/seedlings to sell in their shop, they will need to ensure they also have plant tags on hand.
- Package tags are assigned post-harvest and are used to track finished cannabis products and packages. These tags record the entire history of the inventory batch, including testing, contamination, transfers, adjustments, and package creation.
- Unlike plant tags, package tags are perforated physical stickers with a top and a bottom portion, with the package UID printed on both portions. The larger top portion will stay with the package, while the smaller bottom portion can be attached to a retail container, such as a jar, or to manifest paperwork.
- Each package to which a tag is applied contains one type of product.
- Package tags are not the same as the SKU or product barcode label; package tags are used solely to track the inventory from a package.
- Inventory arrives at dispensaries with Metrc package tags already applied by the vendor. However, dispensaries still need to have package tags on hand as certain workflows may require them to create a “child package”. More information on packages and workflows is outlined in the sections below.
Metrc Packages & Tagging
By the Metrc definition, packages are any container holding cannabis or cannabis products from the same lot that is to be sold, manufactured, or transferred and have a UID (package tag) created in Metrc.
- A Metrc package may contain a single container of product, or it can be several containers of product.
- For example, a Metrc package might have 2lbs of flower in a single container, whereas another Metrc package might contain 2lbs of flower broken up into two 1lb containers.
- In Metrc, every unique product in a dispensary's inventory must have a package tag. However, this does not mean that every piece of inventory needs a Metrc tag; it means that each unique product package needs a package tag. Here are some examples to help you wrap your brain around this a bit more:
Why do dispensaries need to have package tags on hand?
While the inventory you receive from vendors will be pre-tagged, you will still need to have package tags on hand, as some day-to-day workflow scenarios will require you to create a child package from an existing package in a process known as split-lotting. These scenarios include:
1. Transferring a package out of the store with a historical sale against it
A “historical sale” means that your shop has sold an item from the package prior to transferring it out of your store.
Once a package is transferred out of your store, your license is no longer associated with the package ID; therefore, you can no longer report against the package, including editing the sale receipts associated with the package.
2. Transferring a partial package out of the store
It's a common practice for an enterprise licensee to accept inventory into one store with a plan to distribute a portion of the newly received inventory to the other stores. (i.e., you have a package with 6 boxes, and you wish to transfer out 3 to a sister store and sell the other 3 in your shop)
Because Metrc packages can only exist in a single location at any given time, once you transfer out a package, even if it's only part of the package, it is no longer associated with your license which means it cannot be reported against.
To ensure that you and the other location can compliantly sell items from the package, you will need to create a child package for the items you wish to transfer. This will effectively create a new package with a new tag ID that can be transferred to the other location allowing both locations to report sales and adjustments without concern.
Metrc's system will not prompt you to create a child package if you create a transfer action, nor will it prevent you from transferring out a package that still has inventory associated with it.
Thus, it's important to be aware of this scenario to avoid getting into a situation where you cannot report on a product due to vendor return or license-to-license inventory transfer.
Ordering Metrc Package tags
Your Metrc administrators will purchase Metrc tags directly from the Metrc system. A few things to know about ordering Metrc tags:
Metrc charges a fee of $0.25 per package tag and $0.45 per plant tag.
Tags can be ordered in bulk from Metrc.
Metrc package tags are custom printed for each licensee, and as such, you cannot cancel a tag order once Metrc has begun printing them.
Tags are shipped from Florida and usually take 7 to 14 days to arrive.
Regarding how many to order, we recommend that you have at least a sleeve of tags on hand for creating any child tags that may be necessary.
Best Practices for Metrc Tags
1. Keep track of how many tags you have on hand.
The last thing you want is to run out of tags and then find out you've run out of tags when you need them. To that end, we recommend assigning someone to track the number of package tags on hand.
- If you order more than one sleeve, we recommend handing them out to your employees one sleeve at a time. Then, order more when your team asks for the final sleeve of tags.
- If you order only a single sleeve, we recommend tracking how long it takes you to get through a sleeve and order accordingly. To be safe, we recommend ordering a new sleeve once you've used 50% of the tags you have ordered.
2. Label your containers to help keep track of packages with more than one container or box associated with them.
If you have multiple containers or boxes with the same package tags, it is recommended that you:
- Photocopy the tag and apply the photocopied label to the other containers.
- Physically label each container (i.e., Container 1 of 3, Container 2 of 3, Container 3 of 3, etc.) to know how many containers are associated with the tag.
Doing so will help ensure that you can easily match your physical product back to the inventory information contained within Metrc and KlickTrack.