Colorado: Marijuana tracking system may not be fully operational when pot shops launch Wednesday

State: Holidays delay tracking tags' delivery

DENVER - Colorado's regulation of recreational marijuana could already be hitting a snag just as marijuana shops and growers are poised to launch on New Year's Day.

The state Marijuana Enforcement Division said Monday that its seed-to-sale marijuana inventory tracking system won't be in every store when they open on Wednesday.

State officials say because of bad weather and holiday shipping delays, they don't have enough of the radio frequency identification -- or "RFID" -- tags that will be used to track thousands of marijuana plants and other pot products.

The roll out of the state's Marijuana Inventory Tracking System -- or "MITS" -- for medical and recreational marijuana businesses was supposed to be in place before Wednesday.

"However, due to inclement weather and high shipping demand over the holidays, our shipping company has experienced unprecedented delays in its ability to deliver shipments in a timely fashion," the enforcement division said in a news release.

The division says it has developed alternative procedures to allow qualifying licensed  marijuana businesses to start operating on Wednesday.

State officials didn't reveal what the alternative procedures are, but insisted that "these procedures will ensure that Licensees maintain a full accountability of their business operations without limiting the Division's ability to effectively regulate the industry during this transition period."

Meanwhile, the state says regulators and the tracking system vendor, Franwell, are "working diligently to minimize any impact to the industry as a result of these delays."

To date, Franwell has shipped out more than 2 million RFID tags to medical and retail marijuana licensees, the state said. More than 1.6 million tags have been delivered and many of the undelivered tags are expected to arrive Monday or Tuesday, officials said.