The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the cannabis regulatory body of California, is promoting a campaign called “Get #weedwise” to educate consumers about the necessity of only purchasing cannabis from licensed businesses—coupled with a not-so-subtle warning to unlicensed businesses to get licensed or face the consequences.
The campaign talks extensively about the risks associated with consuming unlicensed products from illegal vendors, something experienced by thousands injured during the recent vape pen emergency. It’s easy to be fooled by professional packaging and a friendly storefront, as is seen across the state. So how do we keep the public safe? With a little matrix barcode first created in 1994 for the Japanese automotive industry.
Consumers can verify the legal status of a cannabis business by visiting the Bureau’s Online License Search system at CApotcheck.com, but that’s a lengthy task unlikely taken by shoppers on the go. This is why the BCC’s campaign makes a more significant push towards businesses providing (and consumers looking for) a QR code displayed on a storefront window to verify that the location is a legally licensed retailer.
We’ve advocated for this level of transparency in the industry since the founding of Confident Cannabis, and applaud the effort. However, we believe QR codes should also be on every product consumed, not just the retailer you’re entering that could still be riddled with untested products if they’re unlicensed.
Pro Tip: Read our vape article from September to learn how to use our free QR codes to validate your products.
The Perfect Vehicle to Provide Just the Facts
QR codes provide quick access to information from any mobile device. This is why we believe product makers should be using QR codes to link to verified testing results that display in an easily understandable format for consumers to quickly know whether they can confidently buy a cannabis product that passed state-required regulatory testing.
Brands that are tested by a Confident Cannabis partner lab can place our free QR Code on their packaging that will link directly to consumer-friendly lab test results, proving the legitimacy of the brand and their products. Adding a QR code to labels or packaging is easy, free, and the best way to combat counterfeiters. We implore all producers to put QR codes on packaging and urge retailers to sell products with QR codes linking to valid testing information.
The Facts are there … If You Find Them
Using QR codes provided by testing labs not on Confident Cannabis may seem like the right move as a business owner, but often labs will simply link to a pdf download of the Certificate of Analysis, which is a complicated document filled with difficult jargon to understand. Additionally, each lab gets to choose how the information is displayed once you scan the code. Meaning, the numbers you looked at on one product’s report, might not be shown on another product, could be in another place on the document, and can be formatted however they see fit with few standard restrictions.
The QR codes provided by Confident Cannabis link directly to a standardized, easy-to-read dashboard displaying testing results uniformly regardless of the lab doing the product testing. The information displayed by our QR codes will always look the same no matter what, so you can consistently find the stats you need about the products you wish to purchase. Plus, our codes are mobile-responsive to view results on-the-go without having to zoom in and out of clunky document uploads. Lastly, you can still access the full pdf of the Certificate of Analysis with one click.
Just a QR Code is Not Enough
Once you created the habit of looking for and scanning QR codes when you see them, the next step is to know what you’re looking at and be able to spot the discrepancies that tell you a product might not be safe. Here are a few tips to verify that the lab test results you’re viewing are accurate:
- Make sure the product name on the packaging matches the product name listed on the test results
- Check that reported numbers like THC potency match what is listed on the label of the product
- Verify that there is a visible license number for the company on the testing results
Transparency is the core of our company culture at Confident Cannabis, and it is something we should all strive toward in this industry. Confusion is eliminated when quality products are clearly labeled. If you have ideas about other ways that we can work together as a Cannabis Community to stop the spread of counterfeit products, email us! We are also happy to help you with questions about labels and QR codes.