PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo - Recreational pot shops were still waiting Sunday for a key element of a new state-mandated tracking system, five days after the shops opened their doors to sell recreational marijuana.
Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division was supposed to roll out a seed-to-sell inventory tracking system Jan. 1, 2014. However, pot shops around the state did not receive the tags necessary to track inventory.
The system is called Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solution, or MITS. It uses new radio frequency identification tags to track marijuana plants. The microchips are put on the bottom of the plant as soon as it reaches a certain size. It tracks the plant's life cycle and it keeps track of the number of buds it produces.
Once the buds are harvested, they are placed in a bag with another identification tag.
"I just come in this room for instance, click the scanner gun, read all the tags and tell me exactly what plants are in here," said The Greener Side owner Hank Borunda.
The Greener Side is a business Borunda has grown from the ground up. The Greener Side is one of three pot shops in Pueblo County licensed to sell recreational marijuana.
Borunda said it's been an exciting transition, but tough. Borunda said the new tracking system will make it easier to run his business.
"It's just so much more of an in-depth tracking system," said Borunda.
Borunda paid $3,000 for tags for his plants. The tags didn't show up by opening day. The Marijuana Enforcement Division blamed bad weather and holiday shipping delays.
"I was pretty stressed but they granted me the waiver to open," said Borunda.
The system tracks plants, but not people.
"No one is tracked beyond the point of the plants being packaged and processed. As long as you're over 21, all you do is show ID like a liquor store," said Borunda.
Borunda expects his business' tags to arrive in the mail Monday or Tuesday.
He said there are kinks in the MITS system that need to be sorted out. However, he said those changes will come as the state's budding new industry continues to grow.