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QR codes now required for cannabis retail and distribution operators in CA

As of February 2, 2020, all cannabis retail establishments in California must display a quick-response (QR) code outside their establishment. Delivery and distribution personnel must also carry these identifiers with them while operating.

The goal of the emergency rule announced last week is to allow the public and regulators to verify the license of the operator.

This rule is another move against the cannabis black market in California.

See highlights from the communication from the State below, and call our team with questions at (760) 671-5647.


From the State:

The proposed amendments to the current regulation will require retailers, whose premises are open to the public, to display the QR Code certificate issued by the Bureau on the licensee’s licensed premises in a manner that makes the QR Code easily visible to members of the public as they are about to enter the licensed premises.

The proposed regulation amendment will also require licensee employees engaging in the transportation or delivery of cannabis goods to carry a copy of the QR Code certificate along with a copy of the distributor’s or retailer’s license.

Government Code section 11346.1(a)(2) requires that at least five working days prior to submission of a proposed emergency regulation to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), the adopting agency shall provide a notice of the proposed emergency action to every person who has filed a request for notice of regulatory action with the agency. After submission of the proposed emergency regulation to the OAL, the OAL shall allow interested persons five calendar days to submit comments, on the proposed emergency regulations, as set forth in Government Code section 11349.6.

More details

Proposed subsection (b) of section 5039 adds the requirement that storefront retail licensees must display the QR Code certificate issued by the Bureau so that it can be easily viewed and scanned from outside the business, allowing licensure to be verified before entering the business.

Proposed subsection (c) of section 5039 requires that storefront retail licensees post the QR Code certificate in the front window, or in a locked display within 3 feet of any public entrance, in a manner that is clearly visible to the general public and to anyone entering the licensed premises.

Proposed subsections (d)(1)-(3) of section 5039 provide additional requirements to the QR Code certificate posting. Proposed subsection (d)(1) of section 5039 requires that the QR Code certificate be printed on paper no less than 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. Proposed subsection (d)(2) requires that the QR Code printed on the certificate be no less than 3.75 inches by 3.75 inches. The dimensions proposed are those of the QR Code if the certificate from the Bureau is printed without alteration. This size is also highly visible, while maintaining the ability to be effectively scanned.

Proposed subsection (c) of section 5311 has been amended to add the new requirement that employees of a licensed distributor who are engaging in the transportation of cannabis goods, carry a copy of the licensee’s license and the QR Code certificate issued by the Bureau. This amendment is necessary to ensure that law enforcement and Bureau of Cannabis Control other licensees will be able to easily access the QR Code certificate to easily verify the validity of the distributor’s license. Additionally, as subsection (c) contains new language, prior subsections (c) through (o) have been renumbered to subsections (d) through (p), respectively, so as not to have two subsections entitled (c) and allow sequential numbering of all subsequent subsections. Additionally, cross references within section 5311 have been changed to correspond to the new subsection letters for accuracy.

Proposed subsection (e) of section 5415 has been amended to add a requirement that a delivery employee of a licensed retailer carry a copy of the QR Code certificate while conducting deliveries. In addition, the subsection has been amended to require delivery employees to provide the copy of the retail license, the QR Code certificate, and their employee identification badge to any delivery customer, for viewing and inspection, upon request. These additional requirements are required to ensure that delivery employees will be able to easily provide identifying documentation that can be used to verify that the delivery employee is conducting deliveries of cannabis goods on behalf of a retailer that has been properly licensed by the Bureau. This will reduce the risk of customers inadvertently purchasing cannabis goods from an unlicensed source.

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