As the nation-wide scare regarding the alleged dangers of vaping continues, California officials have been attempting to crack down on the sale of counterfeit cannabis; the culprit behind vape-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Confirming the dangers of fake cannabis, recent raids in Los Angeles found that nearly all the illicit vape cartridges at illegal dispensaries would have failed State regulatory compliance testing.
Almost all the vapes confiscated and tested had potencies which differed from their labels, but some contained potentially dangerous additives. As noted in the Fox Business article below, 75% of these vapes "contained undisclosed additives, including the thickening agent vitamin E acetate, which has been blamed by federal regulators for the majority of lung illnesses tied to the outbreak."
Lori Ajax, who heads up California's Bureau of Cannabis Control, was quoted as saying, “The prevalence of dirty and dangerous vape pens at unlicensed cannabis stores demonstrate how important it is for consumers to purchase cannabis goods from licensed retailers, which are required to sell products that meet state testing and labeling standards.”
In the article it notes that, to fight back against fake cannabis sales, regulators have proposed rules that would require legal shops to post a black-and-white QR code in their windows to identify licensed businesses.
QR codes will not solve the issue of counterfeit cannabis sales.
QR codes have no inherent anti-counterfeiting capabilities because they are easy to copy and fake. Illegal dispensaries, which often carry visually identical counterfeit replicas of legal cannabis brands, will find replicating and sharing fake QR codes to be an easy task.
Instead of looking to decades-old technologies like QR codes and holograms – both of which many fake cannabis packagers already utilize on their products – California and other states need to look to an advanced technology like solo* which is designed specifically to address this serious problem. The key to solo* technology’s successful anti-counterfeiting measures is one-time usage codes which utilize a closed-loop system that third parties cannot replicate. Until regulators recognize that they need increasingly advanced technologies to combat increasingly clever fakes, they will continue to lose this battle.