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Edibles Maker Proposes Changes to Colorado's Cannabis Tracking Rules

The company said its suggestion could save millions of dollars.

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Metrc

Today, Lifestyle Foods, Inc., a marijuana infused products manufacturer that produces edibles brands, Ripple and Ript, is introducing proposed marijuana rule changes in Colorado to remove the requirement that all METRC tags contain RFID chips. The company said this proposal will save Colorado marijuana businesses millions of dollars annually without any risk to the public health or safety.

METRC is the state-identified vendor for marijuana compliance tracking. Colorado marijuana licensees are required under current rules to use METRC RFID tags in every instance, from shipping containers, to product samples submitted for testing, to finished goods. RFID technology allows end users to wirelessly scan and identify tag information, similar to scanning a barcode. METRC currently charges all marijuana licensees $0.25 for each package RFID tag and $0.45 for each plant RFID tag. RFID technology, however, is rarely used for any purpose, and does nothing to further consumer safety.

Ripple has been doing business in Colorado since 2016 and spends nearly $20,000 per year for METRC RFID tags — hundreds of thousands of RFID tags since 2016 — and our usage pales in comparison to cultivation operators who often spend upwards of $100,000 per year on these tags. Since the founding of Ripple, no regulatory agency has ever used RFID to read METRC tags in our facility.

“It’s well past time we get rid of this RFID requirement,” said Gene Watkins, Senior Counsel at Ripple. “These tags are expensive, unnecessary, and hurt our industry.”

The RFID requirement moves millions of dollars out of the Colorado cannabis industry each year and into the pockets of a private software vendor in Florida whose shareholders include some of the very companies its products are used to regulate. Ripple’s proposed rule change would keep those millions of dollars in Colorado, to be put toward better jobs and pay for our residents.

“At a time when the marijuana industry is struggling in Colorado, this proposal would infuse much needed working capital into our local businesses,” said Justin Singer, CEO of Ripple. “These tags effectively act as a private tax on our industry payable to an out-of-state third party. Worst of all, the non-use of the RFID function proves that this is not a public safety issue. The same goal — traceability — can be accomplished equally well by non-RFID tags costing fractions of a penny rather than $0.25. As an industry, we’re paying millions of dollars each year for what amounts to a list of unique numbers. This is blatant rent-seeking behavior against a struggling local industry, and it’s gone on long enough.”

Marijuana licensees who support Ripple’s proposal are encouraged to file supporting comments here.

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