GS1 Identifiers and Barcodes
Licensed producers will need to use Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs, also known as UPCs or EANs) to identify individual products across the supply chain.
This information must be encoded in a machine-readable GS1 compliant barcode.
For detailed information, please consult the following guides:
To sell cannabis products, there are three mandatory Application Identifiers or AIs that must be encoded into a barcode:
- GTIN (AI code 01). Your product identifier. Expressed as a 14-digit number (with filler zeroes inserted in the beginning if the original GTIN was less than 14 digits long).
- Expiration date (AI code 17). Expressed as a six-digit number in YYMMDD format. For products that do not have expiry dates, use the default of 500723 in this space.
- Batch/Lot number (AI code 10). Can be any alphanumeric code up to 20 characters.
To encode the GTIN as well as the additional information, the following types of specific barcodes should be used.
Product Packaging: Use an Expanded DataBar or Stacked Expanded DataBar.
These types of barcode have the advantage of being able to encode multiple additional AIs within a single barcode.
In addition, Expanded DataBars and Stacked Expandeded DataBars are omnidirectional, making them easier to scan in-store.
Shipping Cases: Use a GS1-128 barcode.
Like a DataBar, a GS1-128 barcode can encode multiple AIs within a single barcode.
In the sample pictures above, the barcodes are encoding three AIs: the GTIN, which appears after the (01), the Expiration Date, which appears after the (17) and the Lot/Batch number, which appears after the (10).
Cannabis-related products, such as accessories, do not need additional AIs to be supplied and can be encoded with a standard EAN/UPC barcode.
GS1 Canada subscribers can learn more about how to barcode products through The Learning Zone, GS1’s online education and training resource.
Introduction to Barcodes
How to Create Your Barcode