Cannabis Packaging Rules in
Cannabis regulations vary by state, particularly those pertaining to packaging and labeling requirements. In this article we will dive into some of the cannabis packaging rules in California. The primary motive is to prevent the distribution and usage of marijuana among underage children and in the black market.
Most include the requirement for a warning label, and the regulations are constantly changing. For instance, some of the most common and recent changes regard logo sizes, color requirements, and whether the packaging should be one-time or all-time child-resistant (sometimes referred to as “life-time child resistant) .
To be honest, some of these regulations are challenging to comprehend, let alone implement. So it’s usually critical to hire a qualified lawyer in your jurisdiction to help you comply with the laws. But to help you get started and have a basic understanding of what’s required of you, we’ve prepared this first of many multiple series guides discussing cannabis packaging rules in different states. For this post, we’ll kick off with the state of California:
- What are the cannabis packaging requirements in California?
- What qualifies as child-resistant packaging in California?
- What are California’s cannabis regulations on labeling?
- CarePac is your go-to packaging printing partner.
What are Cannabis Packaging Requirements in California?
From the consumer’s viewpoint, they pay minimal regard to the packaging, as they’re more interested in what’s inside. But the State’s Department of Public Health, through its Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety (OMCS), looks way past the general consumer. It also considers the possibility of cannabis accidentally falling into the hands of minors or the black market. Thus, the OMCS has proposed the following packaging regulations:
Packaging must be Tamper Evident
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a tamper-evident package is “one having one or more indicators or barriers to entry, which if breached or missing, can reasonably be expected to provide visible evidence to consumers that tampering has occurred.” Further, the barrier or indicator must be “distinctive by design,” i.e., not easily accessible to the public. For example, cannabis product packages should contain a plastic seal, a lead that pops up after opening, a sticker all across the lid, etc. This helps the consumer know if the package has previously been tampered with or open.
Packaging must be Resealable
Many times, people purchase cannabis or cannabis products for multiple uses. So it would be a significant injustice to the buyer if the package cannot be resealed after use. That’s why the OMCS requires cannabis manufacturers to wrap their products in packages that can be closed after every use.
Packaging must be Opaque
This requirement applies specifically to edible cannabis products only. Opaque packaging for edible marijuana is where the consumers cannot see the product through the package unless they open it. Therefore, it’s beneficial in steering underage children from being curious about what’s inside since they can’t see it. Opaque packaging also protects cannabis products from contamination and exposure to direct exposure to sunlight or UV rays.
Packaging must be Child Resistant
The OMCS is, remarkably, wary of the marijuana effects on minors, and it has established clear-cut regulations requiring manufacturers to ensure that their products are as child-resistant as possible. In a word, the regulator requires manufacturers to design their packages in a manner that’s difficult for children under the age of five to open. But what qualifies as child-resistant packaging in California? More details below!
What Qualifies as Child-Resistant Packaging (CRP) in California?
Since the beginning of January 1, 2020, the state law requires manufacturers to wrap every individual cannabis product in a child-resistant package. This section looks at the top bare minimums that manufacturers must fulfill for their packages to qualify as child-resistant. But first, what are the available types of child-resistant packaging:
- Single-Use. Also referred to as an “initial CRP,” a single-use package is originally child-resistant but once opened, it ceases to be child-resistant. Hence, the labeling must reiterate that “this package is not child-resistant after opening.”
- Multiple Use. Also known as a “lifetime CRP, this type of package remains child-resistant throughout its usage, no matter how many times it’s closed or opened.
Let’s now switch focus to what qualifies as a CRP:
- A bottle with a pry-off metal crown cap seal
- Any package certified as child-resistant according to the federal Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA)
- A plastic packaging that’s at least 4 mils. thick and heat-sealed. Further, the plastic package shouldn’t contain any easy-to-open flap, corner, dimple, or tab.
What are California’s Cannabis Regulations on Labeling?
On top of the packaging requirements, the OMCS has clear-cut labeling regulations that cannabis manufacturers should follow to the latter. This section takes a deeper dive into labeling placements, as they should appear in the primary panel, information panel, and others. We’ll also discuss what you cannot do as far as marijuana product labeling goes. So let’s get to it:
Primary Panel Labeling Requirements
In case you’re wondering, the primary panel is the part of the label usually displayed to consumers. It can be at the front or top of the package. The law requires the primary panel label to capture the following details:
- Product Identity. This is the generic or known name for describing the cannabis product.
- Net Weight or Volume. This section should detail the volume or weight of what’s inside the package in metric and U.S. customary units.
- Universal Symbol. The product label should also capture a California symbol indicating that what’s inside is cannabis.
- Cannabis-Infused. If it’s an edible cannabis product, this phrase must be written above the product identity. And it must be in a larger text size and bolder font than the one used in product identity.
Informational Panel Labeling Requirements
The informational panel refers to every part of the package other than the primary panel. The law requires that it should contain:
- The manufacturer’s name (as listed in their license certificate) and contact information, e.g., phone number, email address, website, etc.
- The packaging/manufacturing date, including the month, day, and year, e.g., PKG/MFG:06/18/2021.
- UID number, i.e., the unique tracking number issued via Track-and-Trace.
- List of all ingredients and sub-ingredients in descending order and according to weight and volume.
- Lot or batch number.
- Usage or preparation instructions
- Government-issued warning statements for cannabis products in bold and caps.
- Expiration date, if applicable.
- Allergens, if any, and written starting with the word “Contains.”
- For edible cannabis products, the labeling should also feature measurements for carbs, fat, sugar, and sodium in grams or milligrams.
- If the product is perishable after opening, the labeling should contain the phrases, “KEEP REFRIGERATED” or “REFRIGERATE AFTER OPENING.”
- If the product contains a THC concentration that can only be sold in the medical market, the labeling should feature the phrase, “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY.”
Other Labeling Requirements
Other labeling requirements point towards the Cannabidiol (CBD) or Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content available in the cannabis products. They include:
- Cannabinoid content (in milligrams) added to the label by the manufacturer before or after testing.
- THC and CBD per serving (for concentrates and edibles with distinct serving sizes).
- THC and CBD per package for all manufactured cannabis products.
- Any other cannabinoid constituting at least 5% of the total cannabinoid content.
CarePac is Your Go-To Packaging Printing Partner
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