Colorado marijuana retailers fined more than $680K last year

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(This story has been updated from an earlier version.)

The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division collected at least $683,500 in fines last year from marijuana retailers, including a number that allegedly duped the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system.

Denver TV station Fox 31 reported 47 retailers broke the law in 2016. The broadcaster said a significant number of businesses cheated the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, called Metrc, by selling product under the counter without reporting the transaction to regulators.

In Colorado, each plant is tagged with a bar code that includes the plant’s location, weight and sale, among other details. Metrc tracks that information.

According to Fox 31, cannabis retailers are given a little flexibility for how they report damaged, lost or unusable marijuana to state watchdogs. That flexibility has led some retailers to report marijuana that isn’t suitable for sale – but then sell it anyway, tax free.

According to state records, Natural Selections was fined $75,000 and had its license suspended for 90 days for “failing to maintain accurate tracking records that accounted for, reconciled and evidenced all inventory activity.”

According to a spokesman for Natural Selections, the incident occurred on the first day the company intended to launch a new cultivation facility. Seeds and clones were brought to the facility without a proper transport manifest, the spokesman told Marijuana Business Daily.

“This incident resulted in several violations,” he added. “But at no point was the company cited for illegally diverting product. Nor at any point was any marijuana determined to be missing. The incident was more of a clerical error.”