Custom seals can include holograms, QR codes and scratch-off verification codes unique to the product. Photo Courtesy of CannVerify

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the August issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

Chinese manufacturers have been knocking off high-end products for years. Now they’ve gone one step further: making counterfeit CBD packaging that’s helping to bolster the illicit market.

Often, the counterfeit packaging looks so much like the real thing that consumers believe they’re purchasing a legitimate product that has been lab tested.

To combat bogus packaging, many cannabis companies are turning to technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and tamper-proof holograms and incorporating them into their packaging.

Some use tamper-proof holographic seals with unique QR codes. Others use third-patry verifiers.

“We have to do something about the counterfeit packaging that exists online,” said Andrew Kline, director of public policy at the National Cannabis Industry Association. “The other challenge is making sure people aren’t selling that kind of packaging with fake results at any trade shows, which is a little harder to police.”

Jordan Lams, founder and CEO of Long Beach, California-based multistate operator Moxie, said that before he sells gummies or flower to a retailer, he conducts rigorous background checks on the stores and ensures his custom packaging is difficult to duplicate. Moxie’s custom packaging includes multicolored tins for gummies, cardboard boxes with a see-through window as well as glass jars with gold tamper-evident seals for flower.

“It would be nearly impossible to replicate any of our products, and we ensure that through packaging,” Lams said. “It would take hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment for someone to rip it off. It’s too much of an investment to undertake.”

To read more about strategies to use packaging to prevent counterfeiting, click here

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