Legal Cannabis Stores in California Will Soon Require QR Codes
In an effort to undermine the state’s thriving illicit market, cannabis businesses in California will soon be required to post a unique Quick Response (QR) code in their storefront windows and transport vehicles.
Piloted by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) this January, the QR code initiative allows consumers to scan dispensary storefronts to verify if they’re licensed or not.
Now the measure could soon become state law. The BCC submitted the state’s Office of Administrative Law on Monday, February 3, and – subject to approval and five days of public comments – by Saturday, February 8, California could become the first state to require cannabis companies to display QR codes.
The scheme was designed to support California’s legal cannabis market, which has been struggling against an indomitable illicit trade. In 2019, it’s estimated that $8.7 billion of the total $12 billion made in cannabis sales went to the illegal market.
This fierce competition has been partly blamed for the numerous job losses and financial woes that have plagued the Californian cannabis sector since it opened in January 2018.
“The legal industry is still suffering at the hands of a booming illegal market,” Dr Swetha Kaul, vice president of the board Of directors at the California Cannabis Industry Association, recently told Analytical Cannabis.
In response to the illegal threat, the BCC and the Department of Consumer Affairs' Cannabis Enforcement Unit have carried out several enforced raids on unlicensed retailers. During one recent raid, over $660,000 of cannabis products and vape cartridges were seized.
“Illegal dispensaries harm and burden surrounding business owners and taxpayers,” said City of Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, in a statement following a raid last March.
“Allowing them to illegally operate in the city creates an unfair advantage over our lawfully permitted green zone businesses. We are so grateful for the efforts of the Bureau [of Cannabis Control] to address illegal dispensaries in Costa Mesa.”
Anyone who wishes to comment on the QR code regulations can submit their remarks directly to the BCC and Office of Administrative Law by Saturday, February 8.