About Metrc: Missouri’s seed-to-sale software contractor

About Metrc: Missouri’s seed-to-sale software contractor

What you need to know about Missouri’s seed-to-sale software choice

Metrc is a Lakeland, Florida-based company operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia

The Franwell software offering is touted as the first “all regulatory solution for cannabis,” meaning it can address and fulfill a variety of state regulatory demands, ranging from transfers to point of sale to traceability. 
Franwell and Metrc started working with the state of Colorado in 2011, where they still track both the state’s cannabis and hemp supplies. In 2014, Metrc began monitoring Colorado’s recreational program.

The software was specifically designed for government oversight of legalized marijuana. No, the spelling isn’t a misspelling. Metrc stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance.

“Metrc believes that only through the harvest and use of quality data can municipalities and the public at large feel confident to take the next steps on the road to complete and fair regulation industry wide,” reads their website. “Metrc has both an industry side and regulatory side. The industry side is used to report the required events and information while the regulatory side is used for enforcement and compliance monitoring. Metrc believes that our system can be the primary tool for fighting against diversion and illegal use and purchase of cannabis.”

Metrc operates in 11 states and is one of less than a dozen seed-to-sale providers for the over 30 states with legalized medical marijuana. 

RFID tags are a big part of their framework

The central control of security for the software is through RFID secure tags. RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags are added by seedlings which are then added to the plants when they are large enough to support the tags. Still don’t know what RFID is? You probably see it more than you think. RFID is used by libraries and kiosk rental kiosks, big box retailers, and even race organizers – actual races – to track runners.

RFID can be battery operated or passive. Metrc uses passive RFID tags, meaning they have no battery and are simply a tag used for tracking purposes that can be read by tag readers equipped to update the program.

Each tag cost $0.45 to make. Metrc says the tags are “highly secure.”
Metrc commissions and serializes plant and package tags, delivering them to licensees, on behalf of the contracted government. Metrc touts the RFIDs as an intelligent system because tags can be read without line of sight, reducing damage to plants that may be caused by barcodes, etc. needing a direct line of sight. The RFIDs can be read from 10-15 feet away and the scanning itself is faster.

Metrc was created by a company called Franwell, founded by CEO Jeff Wells. Wells founded Franwell in 1993, developing RFIDs. 

Metrc is not the only seed-to-sale tracking solution utilizing and preferring to use RFIDs for compliance tracking.

The software is web based

Accessible via browsers or through a web app, the system currently has over 20,000 users – this includes cultivators, manufacturers, testers, and bud tenders – and has tracked over 5 million plants. 


The system is a “closed-loop” inspired by a California legal case (Gonzales vs. Raich) that says state regulations are strengthened against federal regulations if the product doesn’t cross state borders. The closed loop is used to prove to federal authorities legal cannabis isn’t being diverted – either out-of-state or to the black market.

Because of it’s ability to give real-time visibility, governments (and companies) can do live analysis without painstaking audits. 
The software can also be integrated with some other software, such as point-of-sale. 

Metrc itself has over 100 employees.

They do not currently have a registered lobbyist or attorney in Missouri

The vast majority of companies seeking a contract with the state of Missouri lawyer and lobby up as soon as they’re interested in a contract. As of April 19, 2019, Metrc did not have an attorney or lobbyist in the state, meaning they went through the entire RFP (Request for Proposal) process without someone in the state holding their hand. Missouri’s RFP process is a brutal one, resulting in many multi-million dollar contracts with the state – ranging from software to maintenance. 

The RFP process is separate from the Department of Health and Senior Services and their division of medical marijuana. Bids are handled internally at the Office of Administration. 

Snoop Dogg is an investor

Tiger Global Management and Casa Verde Ventures dropped $50 million into Metrc. The venture firm was co-founded by Snoop, but is managed by Karan Wadhera, an alum of Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities. CEO Wells is hoping to use the investment to expand the company’s regulatory focus. 

Metrc currently has contracts ranging from $100k and up, with Alaska being one of the smaller contracts and Colorado being one of the largest. Metrc makes hundreds of thousands annually on each individual contract and millions more in RFID production. 

Their bid is under protest by competitor BioTrack

Bid fights are common, but after Department of Health and Senior Services Medical Marijuana Division Director Lyndall Fraker announced Metrc had won the seed-to-sale contract, it took mere days before Missouri administrative law super attorney Chuck Hatfield was hand delivering a bid protest to the Office of Administration laced with words like “unconstitutional.”

This is not the first time Metrc has been in a bid kerfuffle, being part of Washington state’s back and forth on choosing a seed-to-sale contractor.