Colorado Rule Changes Could Save Growers Money – But There’s a Catch

For the rules to have an effect, Metrc would have to develop non-RFID tracking tags.

A new rule that goes into effect Jan. 8 has the potential to save Colorado cannabis growers significant costs – but only if Florida-based Metrc develops new tags without microchips for tracking marijuana plants.

Under the current rules, every single marijuana plant at licensed cultivation facilities must have track-and-trace RFID tags affixed to it.

The new rules require every cannabis plant to still have some sort of tracking tag affixed, but they won’t be required to have the same RFID technology included. That should make the tags cheaper to both produce and purchase, Denver 7 reported.

The change in rules came at the urging of Colorado marijuana business operators who are looking to cut costs and save wherever possible in a tightening market.

Veritas Fine Cannabis executive Jon Spadafora told Denver 7 that his company spends six figures a year on RFID tags, which generally cost 25 cents to 45 cents apiece. That’s capital that he said could be better spent elsewhere.

But because Colorado has an exclusive contract with Metrc to run the track-and-trace program that oversees all of the state’s legal marijuana inventory, growers like Spadafora will have to wait for Metrc to develop simpler tracking tags without the extra technology.

“Hopefully on the next time they purchase tags, they would be at a lower price because there’s no RFID tracking requirement. But it depends on when Metrc begins developing tags for the Colorado market that do not have the RFID tracking with them,” Shannon Donnelly, a cannabis professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told the TV station.

In a statement to Denver 7, Metrc touted the benefits of RFID technology and ignored the question as to when it will begin producing non-RFID tracking tags.

“RFID doesn’t just benefit regulators and businesses; it’s a lifeline for consumer safety,” Metrc said.

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