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California To Require Licensed Cannabis Businesses To Display QR Codes

California is planning to use QR codes to identify illicit cannabis businesses and sales in the state.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control on Thursday proposed emergency regulations that would make it mandatory for licensed cannabis businesses in the state to post their unique Quick Response Code or QR Code certificate in storefront windows.

The QR codes most also be carried by the businesses while transporting or delivering cannabis.

The move is intended to help consumers identify licensed cannabis retail stores, assist law enforcement, and support the legal cannabis market where products such as vape cartridges are routinely tested to protect public health and safety.

The bureau noted that the regulations will help customers avoid dangerous illegal vaping products.

"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," said Bureau Chief Lori Ajax.

The proposed regulations come after the Bureau's recent launch of a QR Code campaign that encouraged cannabis business licensees to voluntarily post a Bureau-provided unique QR Code certificate that can be scanned by consumers when they visit a licensed cannabis retailer.

Licensed cannabis retailers will now be required to print and post their unique QR Code in storefront windows or near entrances, to help educate consumers about the importance of supporting and buying products from the legal cannabis market, the bureau said.

Smartphone users can use their smartphone camera to scan the displayed QR Code, which automatically links to the Bureau's Online License Search and confirms the cannabis retailer's license status.

The system will display the retailer's address and license location to ensure that the information is not counterfeit.

According to a report released last August by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, California's legal cannabis market is projected to grow 23 percent in 2019 to $3.1 billion.

However, the report added that California's illicit cannabis market will still account for 53 percent of all sales in 2024, thanks to the tax and regulatory load on the legal market.

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