The state Bureau of Cannabis Control has proposed emergency rules requiring that cannabis retailers and transport vehicles use QR code stickers so potential customers and law enforcement can scan to check if the products are part of the regulated market.
“The emergency regulations are 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 bureau announced in a statement.
As with other emergency regulations, the bureau’s administrative law office is allowing the public to submit comment on the proposed rules within a five-day period — beginning Feb. 3 and ending Feb. 8.
Under the new rules, customers could rely on their smartphones to scan QR code stickers and check whether a dispensary is selling legitimate product. Law enforcement, meanwhile, would be able to scan QR codes during traffic stops to see if the marijuana in tow of transport vehicles are born of the regulated market.
The rules arrive in a state where illicit cannabis has reportedly thrived while growers and businesses struggle to come into compliance. Although, locally, Humboldt County has increased its enforcement of unregulated grows, illegal product has reportedly found its way into legal dispensaries in other parts of the state.
“I feel it could be helpful and beneficial,” said Thomas Mulder of Humboldt Redwood Healing of the new laws. “But honestly, talking to a lot of consumers, there’s a lot of people who don’t bother to scan or check the licensing information at the door before they go in.”
In general, Mulder said the pot industry is in better shape than it was at this time a year ago, but said that loosening regulations remains the best way of blanking the illegal marketplace.
“We appreciate the BCC taking a proactive approach and giving consumers an opportunity to easily scan and confirm that the cannabis retailer is licensed,” said Terra Carver of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “Which can literally mean life or death for a consumer who is trying to figure out if the dispensary they are shopping at is selling poisoned products or not.”
Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.