California Cannabis Regulators Push for Mandatory QR Code License Verification from Legal Dispensaries

The scannable verification codes are Golden State officials latest tool to try and eliminate the cannabis black market.

California cannabis regulators proposed an emergency change to the state’s standard operating procedure late last week, advancing a rule that would require dispensaries and distributors to publicly display a digitally readable QR code to confirm the business’ license status.

According to CNN, the QR code ordinance is the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s (BCC) latest effort to dissuade black market operators and educate legal weed consumers on they can make sure they are supporting fully permitted businesses

“The proposed regulations will help consumers avoid purchasing cannabis goods from unlicensed businesses by providing a simple way to confirm licensure immediately before entering the premises or receiving a delivery,” Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said in a statement announcing the emergency plan.

In the two years since California kicked off legal cannabis sales, the world’s most prolific pot producer has struggled to contain the state’s prolific and persistent black market. Despite increased raids of underground grows and unlicensed dispensaries and hefty fines for illicit operators, a network of unpermitted pot shops has continued to thrive across SoCal. 

BCC regulators first suggested the QR verification plan as a voluntary option for dispensaries to hang outside their shop window and prove their licensed status last month, but with the state’s black market pot industry bringing in more than $8 billion in annual sales, officials decided it was in the industry’s best interest to make the verification codes mandatory. 

“These requirements will also assist law enforcement in distinguishing between legal and illegal transportation of cannabis goods,” Ajax said.

The QR code requirement will now move to five days of public comment before it is ratified as part of California legal weed law.

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