Cannabis Supply Chain – Best Practices

Selling Cannabis Products in Canada

To sell cannabis and cannabis-related products (such as accessories) in Canada, licensed producers will need to use GS1 global standards to identify products and enable supply chain traceability.

GS1 Canada consults with provincial cannabis authorities and representatives from the cannabis business community to develop key guidelines on which global standards licensed producers will need to adopt.

Click here for a guide on how to Launch Cannabis Products in Canada.

Value of GS1 Global Standards

In a global digital world, GS1 global standards help single out what really matters. Commonly encoded as barcodes and scanned at the checkout, global standards are used to uniquely identify companies, products, locations and their associated data. This standard data is used to fuel critical business processes throughout the value chain.

Global standards users benefit from:


Global standards level the playing field and facilitate business across borders for organizations of all sizes. Standards-based solutions ensure brand consistency and interoperability across systems.


Global standards enable products to be tracked and traced as they move through the supply chain. This enables supply chain issues to be identified and products to be quickly located or recalled if necessary.

Operational Efficiency

Remove unreliable, time-consuming, manual business processes from the supply chain, minimizing the number of repetitive processes and significantly reducing the opportunity for human error.


By enabling the traceability of products throughout the supply chain, global standards reduce the risk of product counterfeiting.

Trusted Canadian Industry Expertise

Our ECCnet New Item Setup solution for cannabis and cannabis-related products includes mandatory attributes specifically requested by Canadian industry, removing any confusion or doubt about the required data.

Working With GS1 Global Standards

To sell cannabis or cannabis-related products in Canada, licensed producers will need three things

  1. To use a GS1-compliant global identifier and barcode.
  2. To provide product data (we recommend using GS1 Canada’s ECCnet New Item Setup).
  3. (Recommended) To have globally standardized product images of their products.

To meet these requirements, you will need to become a GS1 Canada subscriber. Click the button below to get started.

If you need help throughout the subscription process, please consult this helpful guide.

Getting Started

GS1 Identifiers and Barcodes

Licensed producers should use a GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to uniquely identify all of their products and their packaging levels.

  • The Cannabis community has selected GS1 DataMatrix for use at the product or consumer level.
  • Shipping and logistics units will continue to use GS1-128 or ITF-14 for case and pallet configuration.

When identifying your cannabis products, three mandatory Application Identifiers (AIs) are used to encode into the GS1 barcode.

Identifier Application Identifier (AI) Description
GTIN 01 Identifies the Global Trade Item Number as a GTIN-14 which is a 14-digit number (if the GTIN is less than 14 digits, zeroes fillers are inserted at the beginning of the GTIN).
Packaging Date 13 Identifies the date when the goods were packaged as determined by the packager. Structure is YYMMDD.
Batch / Lot # 10 Identifies the batch or lot number of the product which can encode up to 20 alphanumeric characters.