Lifestyle Foods, Inc., maker of Ripple and Ript, is proposing that Colorado stop requiring all METRC tags to contain RFID chips, a move that could save the state’s cannabis businesses millions of dollars annually without risking traceability.

METRC is the state-identified vendor for cannabis compliance tracking. Colorado cannabis 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 cannabis licensees $0.25 for each package RFID tag and $0.45 for each plant RFID tag. Lifestyle Foods contends RFID technology is rarely used for any purpose and does nothing to further consumer safety.

Operating in Colorado since 2016, Ripple reported that it spends nearly $20,000 per year for METRC RFID tags. Cultivation operators often spend upwards of $100,000 per year on these tags. Since its founding, Ripple said no regulatory agency has ever used RFID to read METRC tags in its facility.

“At a time when the marijuana industry is struggling in Colorado, this proposal would infuse much needed working capital into our local businesses,” said Ripple CEO Justin Singer. “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.”

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