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 Green Market Report, Metrc indicated that it has no intention just yet of producing non-RFID tags, but pledged that the company will “consistently evaluate alternative options to best service all stakeholders.”

For now, however, Metrc said that “the recent rule change does not alter Metrc’s service offering. Our system is configured to work optimally with RFID tags, and as such, we will currently maintain an RFID tag solution for plant and package tracking.”

The company added that it will also “continue to partner with the state agency” to make sure needs of licensed marijuana businesses are met.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

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