Three Myths about RFID in Cannabis Cultivations


I’ve learned a lot during the four years that I’ve been working with RFID in cannabis facilities. In that same time, I’ve also heard and dispelled a number of myths along the way…here are three of the most common.

Myth 1: RFID doesn’t work in grow environments

This is an overgeneralization and simply not true. While cultivations typically have lighting that emits radio interference which can cause issues with RFID deployment, modern UHF Class 1 Gen 2 RFID works just fine in these environments.

Another concern is the level of moisture in a grow environment. Water does absorb signals from an RFID antenna, but properly placed RFID labels solve that problem. Even tags lying in damp soil are usually read, but once your cultivation team understands best practices for RFID tag placement, you will be able to manage your inventory just fine.

RFID systems are not one-size-fits-all. By partnering with a company that KNOWS how to deploy RFID, you are able to achieve the time-savings that RFID can deliver.

Myth 2: RFID exposes private information to anyone with a high-powered reader

Let’s break this concern down a bit…RFID tags can conceivably be read from outside the security perimeter of your cultivation, but walls greatly decrease the read range. More importantly the only data that could be read would be an ID number. The ID numbers mean nothing without a connection to a data source that matches the ID with other info (strain, time in flower, etc.). The risk of broadcasting important cultivation information is not possible.

Myth 3: RFID is too expensive

Costs for RFID equipment and supplies are typically more expensive than barcode-based solutions but that is only one small part of the total cost of ownership equation. Given the fact that labor is the most expensive cost-center for a cultivation facility, that is where RFID saves the most.

To understand how much more RFID can save a cultivation, let’s compare the labor costs for a cultivation that processes 50,000 plants in a year. Labor costs assume an annual salary of $40k/year (not including taxes and/or benefits).

At the end of the day, you might pay more for an RFID handheld than you would a barcode-scanner, but not that much more!

The cost of RFID labels is also more expensive than barcodes, but in states where METRC is the traceability platform, cultivations already have RFID labels readily available…you just have to take advantage of the technology that’s already there.

Bottom Line

While there are compromises with any compliance system, there’s a reason that most mature industries that need to keep track of valuable, perishable, or regulated inventory use RFID technology. It is simply more reliable, more accurate, and less costly over-all than any other solution available on the market. Yobi is the leader in RFID technology for the legal cannabis industry, and we know how to make it work for you.

If you have questions about RFID and how it can improve your operation, let us know!