Chart: Dominant player emerging for state cannabis seed-to-sale tracking contracts

Businesses that provide seed-to-sale tracking systems to the marijuana industry operate in an intensely competitive environment, but one company appears to be pulling away from the pack with its recent contract victories.

Franwell – the Florida manufacturer of the regulatory compliance system known as Metrc – has won contracts with more than half the markets that require cannabis businesses to use a specific seed-to-sale traceability system.

Of the six seed-to-sale contracts awarded in 2018, Franwell’s Metrc system was selected by regulators in Washington DC, Montana, Massachusetts and Colorado.

BioTrackTHC was selected by Arkansas and North Dakota.

Most states with legal marijuana industries require businesses to have inventory-control and reporting systems in place, though several allow each company to choose the provider they’ll use.

Minnesota, for example, places the responsibility for seed-to-sale tracking entirely on medical marijuana producers in the state.

Here’s what you need to know about the situation:

  • Of the six states with operational adult-use industries – Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – the latter is the only one that doesn’t use Franwell’s Metrc system. Franwell was initially tapped by Washington state as well after BioTrackTHC decided not to renew its contract, but the company subsequently withdrew its bid. MJ Freeway currently provides Washington state with seed-to-sale tracking.
  • The value of seed-to-sale contracts can vary dramatically from state to state. For example, MJ Freeway was awarded a $10 million contract in April 2017 to provide services in Pennsylvania, while North Dakota’s contract with BioTrackTHC was valued at $589,000. The value of each contract depends on a number of factors and may include costly expenditures, such as upgrades to a state’s information technology infrastructure. Furthermore, seed-to-sale providers often generate additional revenue outside the scope of the state contract by charging marijuana business owners for the tags used to trace plants and/or software licensing fees.
  • California’s seed-to-sale tracking contract with Franwell is the largest ever awarded, with the potential to generate nearly $60 million in revenue for Franwell over a two-year period.

Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]

8 comments on “Chart: Dominant player emerging for state cannabis seed-to-sale tracking contracts
  1. George Bianchini on

    I hope they don’t make the software to difficult to operate. I mean the industry is ready but the state is still figuring out what pot looks like.

  2. Erik on

    It’s unfortunate for the state of Iowa that MJBiz daily felt it not appropriate to represent them in their article, but it shows you their lack of commitment to the process…

    To all in the great state of Iowa, congratulations on selecting a vendor and making medical CBD available for your population. It’s a long, tedious process…and you are stepping towards the end goal.

    Know you matter, and don’t worry about money grabbers like MJBiz daily, or MJrUpayingformybizdaily.

    • Laura Hamilton on

      Thank you for your feedback. Just to clarify, only full recreational cannabis and medical marijuana states were included for the purposes of this chart.

      • Luke VandenLangenberg on


        Good for Iowa! Im glad you have progress. Hopefully we can get that soon in WI. Good luck fighting against the massive corn and soy lobby. We need to replace it all with hemp and MMJ.

  3. Barry B on

    None of them are super easy to use. I’ve had the misfortune of using the state systems for METRC, BIOTRACKTHC and LEAF DATA SYSTEMS (MJ FREEWAY). BIOTRACKTHC being the easiest to use by far of the 3, but it didn’t really have enough bells and whistles for my taste. METRC is always bogging down and crashing and blaming other systems and those RFID tags don’t work over half the time and are expensive AF, it’s about as limited more or less with BIOTRACKTHC but a little prettier on some screens. MJ FREEWAY’s system is by far the worst both function-wise and ease of use. This is the one we’re currently using in Washington. It has no real tracking functionality, it’s kind of a joke. We can’t even look up the IDs most of the time because they can just change on us after we’ve already labeled. My account sometimes shifts from having 1/3 of my inventory to having an excess of over 1000 lbs, so I have no idea how compliant I am half the time. Most of us have basically given up. One day at a time though. I never thought I would say this in my entire life, but after trying the other ones out there, we really miss BIOTRACKTHC in Washington. I guess it’s a good thing we at least don’t have the RFID tags here, with the way our market is we’d almost all be out of business. I’m getting close to calling it quits at this rate.

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