In what appears to be the conclusion of one of the longest ongoing sagas in Missouri’s medical marijuana industry, as of February 1, Metrc no longer requires tag fees for Missouri’s licensed marijuana businesses.
In a support bulletin issued February 1, Metrc informed users that effective immediately, all tag orders will no longer have an associated tag charge per plant or product. Additionally, all current tag purchase agreements will be null, replaced by the updated language to the tag order process.
Metrc will continue to charge a shipping and handling fee with each order and will implement a maximum tag order limit, per license, for operators in the state.
A Metrc tag used in seed to sale tracking hangs from a harvested marijuana plant in Missouri.
The new tag limits will apply as follows:
Plant Tags: Max 7,500
Package Tags: Max 2,000
Package Tags: Max 2,500
Package Tags: Max 100
Package Tags: Max 150
Per the notice, “The max setting is intended to be calculated based on the formula – (Max – Available Unused Tags (on Hand) – Shipped (in transit) – On Order (all statuses except voided) = Amount Available to Order). In cases where there is a need for an increase in tag orders due to operating needs, Metrc and DHSS will have an approval process. This process will require licensees to first email into email@example.com with the subject “Increase Tag Limit Request” and outline the requested amount to increase. The intent is not to prohibit these orders, but rather assess them for reasonableness with DHSS.”
Read the document in full below.
The update comes after a more than two-year battle over the right for Metrc to charge tag fees. In September of 2019, Metrc sued the state of Missouri contending at the time that officials had provided conflicting information about what the company is, and is not, allowed to charge to a business.
The lawsuit resulted in Cole County Judge Dan Green rejecting Metrc’s motion, writing “under Contract No. CR191827001, Metrc is not entitled to request or receive compensation from non-state entities for the RFID tags.”
In February of 2020, Metrc filed an appeal of Judge Green’s decision, writing in the appeal, “After the contract was awarded and Metrc was performing it, the Office of Administration sought to rewrite the plain and unambiguous contract to impose a new obligation on Metrc to provide the RFID tags to the industry free of any charge.”
During that time Metrc continued to pursue tag purchase agreements from medical marijuana businesses in the state.
Metrc’s appeal was denied in January of 2021 with Judge Cynthia Martin writing the opinion. “We fail to see any connection between interpretation of Metrc’s contract, which was awarded by OA on April 5, 2019, and 19 C.S.R. 30-95.025, which was promulgated by DHSS as an emergency rule on May 24, 2019 with an effective date of June 3, 2019,” reads the opinion. “Metrc’s contract does not incorporate by reference DHSS rules addressing implementation of Article XIV, section 1 of the Missouri Constitution. And Metrc does not contend that its contract is ambiguous as to require resort to extraneous evidence to determine the parties’ intent. We thus agree with the trial court’s conclusion that 19 C.S.R. 30-95.025 is irrelevant to interpreting the parties’ contract.”
Despite the appeals decision, Metrc has continued to charge Missouri’s medical marijuana licensees plant and package tag fees to this point.
The end of tag fees will be a welcome relief for Missouri operators, with operators spending thousands of dollars per month in plant and package tag fees.
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