The rest of the country is watching as Colorado becomes the first state to make marijuana available for purchase on the retail level for recreational use. Will the tax revenue be significant and helpful to the state’s economy? Will current recreational users shop around for different strains of marijuana and different varieties of marijuana-related products available in the legally sanctioned stores? These are just a few of the questions awaiting answers.
Already well-known for its abundance of medical marijuana shops, Colorado has opened the recreational market in a somewhat conservative way by only allowing existing dispensaries to apply for retail permits. Businesses were given the option request to convert to retail only or ask to do business for combined retail/medical use.
One significant difference between purchasing medical and recreational marijuana is that since you don’t need a permit to buy recreational pot, there will be no record of your retail purchase (excluding any credit card data should you choose to charge your purchase).
Cannabis Traceability in Colorado
The state of Colorado has a system called MITS, Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solution, which, according to the Colorado.gov website, was “developed to track and monitor marijuana inventory within Colorado’s regulated, closed loop Medical and Retail Marijuana regulatory scheme.”
The state won’t be keeping records of individuals who purchase recreational marijuana: “No personally identifying patient or retail customer information is entered into MITS.”
To monitor inventory and sales figures, the state will track marijuana plants, processed marijuana, and marijuana products with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. However, “tracking ends at the point the marijuana or marijuana product is sold to a private citizen.”
MITS does contain the Medical Marijuana Registry numbers of patients who have designated a specific Medical Marijuana Center as their Primary Center, as these numbers and their physician-recommended plant allowance is what determines the number of plants each medical dispensary is allowed to cultivate for medical use.
The information in MITS is protected with encryption and security measures. For more information, the state of Colorado has posted a PDF file with frequently asked questions about MITS.
Privacy for recreational pot users looks to be a significant part of Colorado’s system, and it will be interesting to see if MITS and other measures will serve as examples in other states.