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A Brief Packaging and Labeling Guide for Cannabis

Know Some of the Basic Rules of Packaging and Labeling to Sell Your Cannabis Products in the Retail Market.


Thinking of selling cannabis products in the retail marketplace? If so, you need to know the basic rules of packaging and labeling. Just keep in mind that there can be small differences between states: what’s required in California might not be required in Nevada, Colorado or Oregon. Since California is the largest state where recreational marijuana is now legal, it’s worth taking a closer look at the official rules of the California Department of Public Health.

What the packaging cannot include

The state of California is very clear about what cannot appear on the packaging. California states that packaging cannot be attractive to children or easily confused with candy or other foods that do not contain cannabis. This is to prevent the unthinkable: a small child mistaking a Cannabis product for candy and accidentally ingesting or drinking the product.

What the packaging must include

According to the state of California, the package must be re-sealable, tamper-evident and child resistant. Moreover, it must have the appropriate label. Each label must include the following:

• The date of manufacture and packaging

• The presence of any known allergens (e.g. nuts)

• The source and date of cultivation

• The type of cannabis or cannabis product

• The number of servings per package

• The amount (in milligrams per serving) of any pharmacologically active ingredients (e.g. THC, CBD)

• The universal symbol for cannabis

In addition, the packaging must include an official government warning that only adults over the age of 21 can use the product and that any women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use the product. In many ways, this is similar to the standard government warning that appears on every pack of cigarettes. The California Department of Public Health provides the specific language that must be included – there can be no exceptions. Moreover, if the cannabis product is being used for medicinal purposes, then there must be a clear warning (“For medicinal use only”) on the label.

The importance of track-and-trade for cannabis products

As the California Department of Public Health makes clear, each cannabis product must have a unique ID number of tracking purposes. This is what is known as “track-and-trade.” The presence of the unique ID number makes it very easy for the authorities to track the flow of cannabis products and prevent any illegally cultivated or manufactured cannabis from entering the marketplace.

Final thoughts on cannabis packaging and labeling

In many ways, much of the packaging and labeling for cannabis follow common sense guidelines and cannot be considered unnecessarily burdensome. The packaging and labeling requirements are designed first and foremost with the potential consumer in mind. But they are also helpful for cannabis sellers as well – they ensure that there is a fair and equal marketplace where products can be easily tracked and traded. Now that legal cannabis use is becoming public and mainstream, the new packaging and labeling rules should go a long way towards growing the market and attracting new customers.

Other relevant blogs you might wish to read:

Where in the U.S. Can You Legally Consume Cannabis?

Cannabis Drinks to Watch Out For In 2018