Second verse, same as the first.
By affirming a Cole County judge’s ruling from one year ago, the appeals court’s Kansas City-based Western District marks yet another win both for our industry and especially the more than 80,000 patients and caregivers who would likely have had to absorb the additional RFID tag fees.
When the state Office of Administration awarded a five-year, $5 million track-and-trace contract to Metrc as part of a competitive bidding process, the Request for Proposals (RFP) was clear that bidders provide “firm, fixed pricing.”
Metrc’s winning bid outlined a $40 monthly charge per licensed dispensary, cultivation, and infused product manufacturing site — costs in line with industry standards in other states.
But as licensed cannabis operators in Missouri know, the goal posts were subsequently moved when the state vendor added an additional, 45-cent fee for each radio frequency identification tag added to plants, and 25 cents for each package tag.
Like Cole County Circuit Court Judge Dan Green, the appellate court stated unequivocally that Metrc’s subsequent demand for “variable, industry-paid pricing” — a hidden cost operators have been forced to pay while the legal dispute lingered — doesn’t fly.
“The plain and unambiguous language of the contract does not permit Metrc to charge industry participants for its proprietary RFID tags beyond the stated firm, fixed price contained in the contract,” the appellate court wrote in its Jan. 26 decision.
Allowing a vendor to charge both the state and licensed operators for this service would have clearly driven up costs without any practical rationale, costing license holders tens of thousands of dollars annually in extra costs.
With bullish patient growth and the continued arrival of new cannabis businesses (and jobs) across the state, the year ahead promises to be another memorable one for MoCannTrade members and our burgeoning industry. And this latest legal victory is a resounding win for Missouri operators, patients, and caregivers that should only accelerate our undeniable momentum.
Andrew Mullins is the executive director of MoCannTrade.