Colorado Seed To Sale System Leaking Cannabis Into Black Market

By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection


The METRC cannabis tracking system in Colorado is suffering some “leakage” from the supposedly stringent seed-to-sale system designed to prevent diversion from their regulated adult use cannabis market. Although regulators have determined there have been numerous violations, its impossible to tell just how much marijuana is escaping the system and making it to the black market where it is untaxed and unregulated. They have, in the meantime, issued over $680,000 in fines on licensees that have been deemed in violation of the laws.

The loopholes appear to be in the gray areas where there are allowable losses under the rules. Retail outlets have been fined for selling cannabis outside the taxed and regulated system after reporting cannabis as damaged or contaminated.

Under the Colorado tracking system, regulators are supposed to be able to monitor all the inputs and outputs in the system by tracking every single plant used to produce cannabis for the legal market. Under this plan, plants are tracked, harvest is tracked, and the finished product amounts is supposed to be recorded and tracked until it is sold to the customer.

A person can already start to imagine the massive opportunities to divert product from a registered and licensed grow site, let alone the dispensaries. However, the fines were primarily assessed on dispensaries for an array of violations. KDVR Fox 31 in Denver reported:

A seasoned dispensary employee named Marcus explained how pot routinely disappears. And although the amounts seem small to state regulators, the profits for those who are manipulating the system are good.

“There are many ways to be able to manipulate these numbers and there’s no accountability,” Marcus said. “A lot of people are getting paid poorly. A $1,000 or $2,000 just to shave a few grams here and there every day sounds like a real good idea.”

Marcus said the main goal of using waste and lost fields is usually the same: To fool state regulators into thinking some marijuana was dropped on the floor or contains too many mites, then sell that “missing” marijuana out the back door.

Diversion from the regulated systems remains a major problem in legal marijuana states. In fact, Oregon uses the METRC system, as well. Lawmakers are wrestling with different systems to try and find a solution to the obvious problem…how do you control a plant that grows like a weed?

© 2017 Oregon Cannabis Connection. all rights reserved.

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at

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10 thoughts on “Colorado Seed To Sale System Leaking Cannabis Into Black Market

  • Pingback: Colorado Seed To Sale System Leaking Cannabis Into Black Market - Oregon Cannabis Connection - Portland Daze

  • 05/06/2017 at 9:58 am

    Cannabis culture is the antithesis of (extreme) govt regs… The harder the govt tries to regulate mj use, the more product will seep into black market hands. Free the weed (it’s NOT plutonium, or even alcohol)!

  • 05/06/2017 at 12:22 pm

    the truth finally shines through…yet all the unconstitutional over regulation is targeted at the patients and caregivers boutique gardens….2012 ‘legalization’ is REALLY just the RE-BRANDING of 1937 REEFER MADNESS and it’s being pushed by sorosinc./MPP/DPA/ASA/NCIA/NORML. The is no SCIENCE, SANITY or HUMANITY behind it.

    And I just got an email yesterday from DPA trying to say their work is based on science and compassion? …lol…where are the paid trolls to attack me?

  • 05/06/2017 at 12:29 pm

    The corrupt greedy big $$ dispensary cartels divert THOUSANDS of POUNDS of pot out the back door … every month!

    Anyone actually in the industry knows this fact.

    Will the pathetic pimps at the Denver Post or Cannabist ever report this fact?

    Will the corrupt and perverted M.E.D. ever actually enforce the law against dirty dispensaries instead of merely taking tens of thousands of $$ in bribes?

    “Legal” marijuana … ROTFLMAO !!

  • 05/06/2017 at 12:29 pm

    Stupid Stoners BEGGED the Government for massive regulation and extreme taxes.

  • 05/06/2017 at 12:31 pm

    So what are the total taxes due on retail pot? What is the NET Profit on it?

    Do you know anything about reality?

  • 05/06/2017 at 1:14 pm

    The Colorado M.E.D. is totally corrupt, totally feckless.

  • 05/07/2017 at 4:56 am

    Yes I do. And I know a grower is not going to sell RETAIL to buyers. They’re going to sell WHOLESALE. AFAIK there is no WHOLESALE tax due.

    What were you saying about “reality”?

  • 05/08/2017 at 8:13 pm

    This article is unsubstantiated and completely incorrect. I’m probably the only one here in the middle of the regulated system speaking including the writer. My words are from 7+ years in the Colorado system so believe me, ZERO weed is being diverted by the licensed business. The waste you’re referencing is looked at by state auditors and if you are outside the ‘average’ you get investigated. My business is as compliant as any, I would state “the most compliant”. We’ve been checked a few times. Colorado is all over it. This article is wrong.

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