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The use of marijuana as medicine gave birth to legal marijuana growers and dispensaries. However, illegal production and distribution of cannabis is still rampant. Authorities address this concern by inventing a close monitoring system called “seed to sale tracking” or STS.

STS captures all data throughout marijuana supply chain including individual plant or crop inception, harvest, processing and distribution. If STS is mandated by the government, the information will be made available to regulatory authorities through physical inspections, reports and data upload on their track and trace system.

“A lot of state discriminate marijuana use. Hence STS must be in place to ensure that dispensaries and growers will comply with the proper distribution protocols as mandated by the federal regulations and the state”, Julie Postlethwait; Colorado’s communication officer of Marijuana Enforcement Division said.

Monitoring is done by scanning the small tag attached to the product or plant through radio-frequency identification, somewhat similar to the grocery store.

The facility’s medical marijuana license or retail number will be shown on the tag. It comes as a “secure ID chip” embedded inside the tag. Hence, these numbers are traceable via inventory database which can be accessed both by the marijuana business and the state.  This will also serve as transport manifests, allowing the state regulators and proprietors to know if a marijuana package is lost during transit. Tracking only stops after marijuana has been purchased

“This is the best way to resolve issues on marijuana black market since it easily removes this illegal practices out of the chain”, Colorado officials said.

Though STS appears to be an easy solution for authorities to do their job, the opposite is true with to the marijuana industry group. This can be attributed to system’s cost and the fact that the tags can only be purchased from Franwell; the developer of STS system. On top of all these, the tags cannot be reused.

“Using seed to sale tracking can be expensive”, Mike Elliot said (Medical Marijuana Industry Group’s executive director. “We just need to get the best deals when using these tags”, he added.

The cost is not an issue after all since Postlewait said they are willing to lower tag cost and welcome outside vendors at the same time. The important thing is to make sure that growers and owners of marijuana dispensaries will use the system as mandated by their state. What matters most is to get the system up and running.