Unlike THC products sold at designated medical and recreational dispensaries, CBD products are now available in a wide range of retailers across the globe. Aside from global item identification, CBD products are required by certain states to have additional QR barcodes. The information below will provide guidance on exactly what manufacturers need to do to correctly implement barcodes for CBD products.
UPC barcode numbers are not picked at random by a brand owner, but rather a string of numbers that correspond to a global standard to allow products to be sold globally. The data in a UPC barcode must contain a UPC (GS1) Company Prefix granted by GS1 to a specific brand, an Item Reference Number assigned by the brand owner, and a mathematically derived Check Digit to assure the authenticity and prevent duplicate UPC barcodes from being assigned. See sample:
Manufacturers must get GS1 UPC Barcodes, which we define as a UPC with a brand-licensed UPC Company Prefix. Unfortunately, the internet is rife with companies offering low-cost UPC barcodes that use shared prefixes and violate worldwide standards used by most retailers, wholesalers, hospitals, and online marketplaces (for example, Amazon). Companies that want to place UPCs on their products are encouraged to do it correctly the first time to avoid customer complaints and recreating packaging.
Certain states have mandated specific product data labeling for CBD items. It is extremely important that CBD manufacturers understand the state requirements due to severe non-compliance penalties. Much of the information is for the consumer's protection and the use of QR Codes enables easy mobile scans for expanded information. Some of the common requirements include;
Here is a listing of the states with specific requirements (as of May 2020):
QR Codes can encode different forms of information ranging from a paragraph to a website URL. The QR Barcode for CBD products commonly contains a URL that is brand controlled with the required information (i.e. COA). Digital QR Code files (.eps) can easily be generated at www.createbarcodes.com for only $10 each.
For companies who need comprehensive assistance with both the UPC and QR barcodes, we offer support which is available at https://www.barcode.graphics/gs1-upc-barcode-support/. As part of this service, we can host the Certificate of Analysis forms and provide the corresponding QR barcode file, for companies who do not have the ability to host this information online.