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California Proposed New Regulations, Demands Cannabis Businesses Have Unique QR Codes to Sell Cannabis Products

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California wants mandatory QR Codes for cannabis businesses

The cannabis industry has boomed since the federal government in the U.S. legalized hemp, a cannabis Sativa plant. CBD, or cannabidiol, derived from hemp garnered massive popularity throughout the country. People now use CBD for treating stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, and other ailments. 

Research suggests that CBD is a strong compound that has the ability to improve the overall wellness of humans as well as pets. It is an anti-inflammatory compound and while it can treat many diseases, it also comes with an added benefit of being non-psychoactive. So CBD unlike THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, does not produce any mind-altering chemicals leading to hallucinations or a euphoric feeling. 

Though there’s evidence that CBD is a potent compound and has a gamut of health benefits, there’s little research to support these reasons strongly. Thus, law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are skeptical about legalizing CBD in dietary supplements. 

Despite the FDA’s stringent policies that go against CBD infused edibles, retailers continue selling CBD based food items such as gummies, chocolates, drinks, etc. The agency had released warning letters to 15 companies as they were marketing their CBD products with health benefits or did not contain legitimate ingredients in their products. 

Recently, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control proposed emergency regulations that require state-licensed businesses to show their unique Quick Response Code certificates on their display windows in their stores. The newly proposed regulations would also ensure that these businesses have their digital barcodes handy while transporting cannabis. 

These regulations have come after the California cannabis regulators launched a campaign where businesses could voluntarily post a uniquely generated QR code, which when captured by a smartphone camera, would show information such as an address, location, and license status. 

According to BDS Analytics and Arcview, which monitor and analyze cannabis industry sales, 

California’s illegal cannabis market was estimated at nearly $8.7 billion in 2019. Whereas the legal market sales in California were expected to reach only $3 billion. 

The newly proposed regulations will help buyers purchase only from licensed retailers that have legitimate products and government approval to sell cannabis products. This will help them avoid buying illicit products from unlicensed businesses. It will instantly tell the consumers whether the retailer is legitimate or not before they enter the premises or when they receive a delivery, said Lory Ajax, Bureau Chief. The newly proposed regulations will also aid law enforcement to distinguish between legal and illegal cannabis goods and brands. 

The QR Codes are just one aspect of a much broader statewide effort which includes seizures, lawsuits, raids, and arrests to crack down the illicit cannabis market. Members of the public can comment on the proposed regulations within five days to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Office of Administrative Law. 

In 2018, California had launched its regulated recreational cannabis sales and the state quickly became the country’s largest legal cannabis market. But business leaders and industry members say their businesses have suffered due to the stringent tax policies and regulations that allowed municipalities to restrict cannabis sales coupled with a growing illicit cannabis market offering similar CBD products at a much lower cost. 

By curbing the illicit cannabis markets, licensed businesses will have more opportunities to tap into the consumer market. Currently, the market is filled with CBD products ranging from skincare to health – CBD gummies, ointment, capsules, tincture, creams, isolate, bath bombs, vape pens, etc. But there’s no clear distinction between which product is legal and which isn’t. 

Illicit cannabis products mostly contain a higher concentration of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that is responsible for causing hallucinations and giving the “high” when users smoke weed. According to the federal regulations the maximum permitted amount of THC is 0.3% per dry weight unit. Even a slight deviation towards the higher number from 0.3% can lead to a positive drug test. 

Consumers should be aware of the ingredients used in Cannabis products, especially those that are marketed with high medicinal value.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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