By Mike Plaisance

[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD — The state’s regulation of the marijuana industry will include radio frequency technology to do seed-to-sale tracking.

“The ‘METRC’ system will serve as a critical compliance tool that will allow the commission to centrally monitor the movement of marijuana plants and products as they progress throughout the legal market,” Shawn Collins, executive director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, said in a press release last week.

The Lakeland, Florida-based Franwell, a technology provider, is the parent company of METRC, which stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance.

The commission and the company offered workshops on the tracking technology last month here and in Worcester and Boston.

The oversight is aimed at ensuring accountability in the marijuana industry. Oversight is to be achieved using serialized radio frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to marijuana plants and packages, computer hardware such as antennas and  software.

 No need to worry about the government using the tags to monitor marijuana consumers beyond point of sale. The tags are “readable” only in areas in which RFID hardware exists, according to industry analysts. 

 “But, once the object leaves the building and the read area, the tag is no longer traceable unless introduced back into the read area,” according to an RFID Insider story Feb. 21, 2017 by  Suzanne Smiley. 

Advantages of using such a system to track marijuana plants include, according to the RFID Insider story:

RFID doesn’t need line of sight to locate a plant in a readable area.

RFID tags can be rewritten and reused.

RFID tags are durable against impact and environmental factors.

RFID tags can read hundreds of tags in seconds.

RFID systems can be integrated with other internal systems or  processes. 

The ski industry has been using RFID technology for years to control access to ski

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