Inventory Tracking, Interstate Commerce, and More: Interview with Metrc CEO Michael Johnson

Metrc's newly installed CEO sat down with Green Market Report to talk about the company's plans and how the industry is changing.

Florida-based Metrc has been one of the longest-running technology companies in the modern cannabis industry, and it is now running a whopping 23 state government contracts that host seed-to-sale cannabis inventory tracking.

The newly installed CEO, Michael Johnson, is a relative cannabis industry newcomer, having only joined Metrc in 2021 before being named chief executive in May this year. He sat down with Green Market Report to talk about Metrc’s plans and how the industry is changing.

headshot of Michael Johnson, CEO of Metrc
Michael Johnson, CEO, Metrc

Plans for Metrc

But Johnson has big plans, he said in the interview, including possibly ousting competitor BioTrack from its government contract in Illinois and looking at expansion to Europe once Germany legalizes recreational cannabis.

He also said he’s proud of tech innovations that his team has already rolled out – including sustainable hemp-made tracking tags for cannabis plants – and promised more such changes are on the way in coming months.

Potential from Interstate Commerce

When asked about the possibility for interstate marijuana commerce and a new national marketplace, Johnson said Metrc isn’t daunted, but rather is prepared to grease the skids for broader trade.

He noted that Metrc is already operational in that states that are actively considering interstate commerce, such as California, New Jersey, and Oregon.

“There’s no question that some of the more mature states, from a cannabis perspective, are in a position to be able to supply other parts of the country and other parts of the world,” Johnson said.

“The fact that a number of these states are Metrc states … (means) we’ve already got the rails laid, so that if states allow both exports and imports, we’ll be well-positioned to facilitate that, to ensure a robust and efficient supply chain,” he said.

National Legalization Opportunities

Johnson also maintained that federal legalization – should that come to pass in the near future under President Joe Biden – won’t make Metrc obsolete, but make it even more crucial of a tool for regulators.

“We think about it a lot. It’s a really complex issue. There are folks that would really prefer that the states keep control of the markets, and would like to see more of a federal descheduling approach,” Johnson said.

“For us, it’s not really about advocating one way or another,” he said. “Being the backbone of the most successful markets on the planet, we feel really aligned and ready to support any of the actions from the federal government. If it’s more of a state-focused ecosystem, we’re certainly already entrenched there. If it ends up being more of a federal structure, we could treat that almost like it’s a big state.”

Johnson also said that the illicit cannabis market nationally remains a prominent threat to licensed and legal marijuana businesses everywhere.

“The fact is, as long as the illegal market flourishes, it puts the legal market at risk,” he said. “The best way we can continue to support (legal operators) is to demonstrate the value and importance of the public safety elements associated with some of the safeguards in place.

“The opportunities that can grow from a really robust legal market are endless, and supporting that and continuing to grow that is the only way we’re going to get to a place where cannabis can be more mainstream,” he said.

John Schroyer


Agrify

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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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