Will QR Codes End California’s Illicit Cannabis Market? No, But They Are a Start

Last year, the California cannabis agencies started to ramp up enforcement activities against unlicensed operators. Still, if you ask any licensed cannabis business, enforcement against unlicensed competition is far from where it needs to be. It was widely reported last year, for example, that there were 3,000 illegal cannabis businesses in California. My best guess is that there are many, many more today, in spite of the agencies’ enforcement efforts.

While the agencies continue on the enforcement front, they are coming up with new, creative ways to combat the unceasing torrent of unlawful cannabis activity in the Golden State. For example, last week, one of my colleagues reported on the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s (BCC) announcement concerning proposed emergency regulations that would require licensed retailers to post unique quick response codes (QR codes) in storefront windows and to carry it with them while delivering cannabis, and would require licensed distributors to carry copies of the QR code certificates while transporting cannabis goods. As explained by the BCC:

Smartphone users are able to 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 also displays the retailer’s

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