California to require special code for all marijuana retailers

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Citing the 2019 vaping crisis, California cannabis regulators on Thursday mandated that licensed marijuana retailers and distributors display a QR code in order to differentiate legal cannabis businesses from illicit ones.

The new regulation will go into effect after it’s approved by the state Office of Administrative Law, which will likely take at least two weeks.

“The move is designed 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 state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) said in a statement.

The mandate stems from vape-related lung illnesses that led to at least 60 deaths nationwide and 2,600 hospitalizations last year.

Retailers will be required to display a unique QR code in a window visible to the public, with the code itself no smaller than 3.75 inches by 3.75 inches.

Distribution company employees, or delivery service drivers, must also carry a copy of the QR code with them when transporting cannabis products under the new regulation.

The BCC announced the QR code campaign in December, but at the time, it was a voluntary step for retailers to display the code so they could set themselves apart from the illegal market.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the vaping crisis, click here.