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Colorado Using Technology to Track and Regulate Marijuana

Chris L

Let’s track some data, man…

Who would’ve thought that the marijuana industry would be big on data?  Not stoners, apparently.  Colorado, as one of the first states to enact recreational marijuana use, has a system called MITS—Marijuana Inventory Tracking System—that allows for the state to keep track of all plants, from seed to sale, that Colorado shops produce.

marijuana and data

Marijuana tracking systems

MITS uses radio frequency identification to track all the plants that are sold by Colorado marijuana dispensaries, allowing the state to keep tabs on them and effectively shut out the black market.  Colorado has required dispensaries to report their plants since 2010, but hadn’t used the RFID tags or the MITS since 2013 in an effort to bring their tracking system online.  The online database aspect makes it easier for dispensaries to enter the information on their plants, and lessens the amount of man-hours used inputting the data, as well as minimizing mistakes from humans.  The RFID tags act as a barcode for the plants themselves, as they get a tag when they are growing, and once again when they’ve been harvested.  Think about it like getting a package from Amazon—you have a barcode that is the identifier of the product, and the order number that Amazon uses to track it.  The only difference is that instead of books or other household items, it’s weed.  Amazing, awesome, totally legal weed.

Colorado uses it to know exactly how much marijuana is floating around the state and where exactly it’s grown and where it’s going, essentially cutting off the black market.  It can be used in the reverse as well, being able to track certain strains that may be contaminated or causing other issues, finding the origins of the particular plant or strain.

One of the problems with MITS is that the RFID tags and databases may not work with a dispensary’s use of their own point-of-sale systems, but the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division says that they are working on the connection between the two systems to help combat that problem.

In the meantime, just light one up and wait it out.


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