Tracking chips will follow Oregon marijuana products

Nina Mehlhaf, KGW 6:46 PM. PDT April 19, 2016

tracking_oregon_pot_1461113172857_1763362_ver1-0PORTLAND, Ore. — Tracking pot from seed to sale.

The state of Oregon is starting to train marijuana growers, processors and store on new technology to make sure marijuana stays legally in our borders. This uses the same kind of chip that pets get from the humane society.

It’s the software that will put Oregon’s pot market on the same level as any corporation-organized inventory, tracked delivery and point of sale records.

It’s from a company called Metrc. Colorado uses it as well. Washington uses something similar.

A blue barcode starts in the soil. Inside the tag is a chip with a serial number that is read by an RFID scanner.

As the plant grows, the same numbered tag moves to a branch, then a sticker for pot products that head to stores where customers will buy it. The state keeps track of every move.

“One, it keeps everything that’s grown and produced in the regulated market, in the market so we can see if there are any diversions to the illegal market, it also prevents illegal product from entering the legal market,” said Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Division.

That’s important because every legal weed product is lab tested at least once for pesticides, mold and THC levels. It can’t be sold if it’s not clean.

The state paid $1.6 million for the software, but each grower and marijuana store will use it for free.

Casey Rivero is a grower in Hillsboro. He says the tracking system legitimizes the cannabis industry and gives piece of mind.

“Having that accountability from the beginning, I feel is really important,” Rivero said.

If Oregon pot ends up illegally across state lines before it’s sold to the public, the state can track down who had possession of it last, and their license might go up for review. It’ll be helpful on the road too.

“If someone takes it out of the system for transport, from A to B, it shows it’s in transit. They can show that document to a law enforcer and it’ll have our mark on it, and it will show that it’s legal and verifiable,” said Rivero.

Up until now, medical marijuana growers have been providing the recreational product. Starting April 29, licenses just for recreational growing will start to be handed out. Then store licenses will start in the fall.

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