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Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Practice in California

Oct 15 2019, by Jessica McElfresh in Marijuana Business, Marijuana Business

With 2020 just around the corner, it’s time for your business to think about cannabis packaging and labeling practices in California. At the new year, the temporary packaging and labeling requirements will be replaced with the more strict, permanent ones. And you don’t want to get caught by surprise. Violating a packaging or labeling rule can result in distribution delays and possible fines from the Department of Health.

The distribution and transfer of cannabis or cannabis products that complied with California’s temporary emergency regulations was lawful until June 30, 2019. Licensed retailers are permitted to sell these products to consumers until December 31, 2019. After that point, all cannabis products in California that flow into the marketplace must meet the new, tougher standards.

At McElfresh Law, we pride ourselves in helping Southern California cannabis businesses stay on the right side of the law. The California cannabis industry is at a turning point, and our goal is to help our clients successfully navigate the transition to the state’s permanent regulations. If you want to make sure that your business is ready to succeed in this new legal and regulatory environment, call us today at (858) 756-7107 or use our online contact form to schedule your consultation.

Your Packaging Must Be Child Proof and Tamper Evident

On January 1, 2020 all cannabis that leaves a distributor must be in child-resistant packages. Until then, it’s up to retailers to ensure that the products that leave the store are in child proof packaging. Specifically, the products must be certified as child-resistant under the federal
Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA, 16 CFR section 1700.1). Bottles must be sealed with a pry-off metal crown bottle cap, and plastic packaging must be at minimum four thousandths of an inch (4 mils.) thick and heat-sealed. Packaging may not include an an easy-open tab or flap.

The consumer needs to be able to tell if the package has been opened prior to sale. So the package must be tamper evident in some way. You can place a seal on your packages, a sticker across a jar lid, or use a jar lid that pops when opened. Reusable products must be resealable, and edibles must be in opaque packaging, so that the product is not visible through the packaging.

Each Package Must Include a Primary and Informational Label

There are two types of labeling under the regulations: the primary panel and the informational label. The primary panel is the one that is most likely to be displayed to the consumer at retail, and is typically on the front or the top of the package. It should include the product’s identity, net weight, and the universal symbol for California licensed cannabis products.

The informational panel is any labeling that is not the primary panel. It must include the UID number your product has been issued through the Track and Trace system, the name of the business and its contact information, the date of packaging, and a government warning in all capital letters. If your package is so small that it does not have enough label space, the government of California recommends using supplemental tags such as inserts, peel-back labels, or hang tags.

Your product may include multiple layers of packaging, and a single package may contain several smaller containers. In these cases, the inner containers must also include basic labeling. Inhaled cannabis products such as vape cartridges must include the universal cannabis symbol. Non-inhaled cannabis products such as edibles and tinctures must include the product’s identity, weight, and the universal symbol. Edibles specifically must contain the words “cannabis-infused.”

Your Labeling Cannot Make Unproven Claims or Appeal to Children in Any Way

Your labeling cannot mention a specific California county unless all of the cannabis in the product is grown in that region. You cannot include false or misleading information, such as making unproven health benefit claims or mentioning the word “organic” on the label. All of the written content on the label should be in the English language and be presented in font size six or larger.

Finally, your labeling cannot be attractive to children. This means that you cannot use cartoon like images, or a packaging style that resembles candy. Words such as “candy,” “candies,” “kandy,” and “kandeez” are specifically prohibited. Edible products cannot include a photograph of an image of the product, because this might entice children to try it.

A California Cannabis Business Lawyer Can Help With Compliance

To succeed, any business needs to ensure that it is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. This is especially true in the cannabis industry. Noncompliance will result in fines, the revocation of your license, and possible criminal charges. If you want to succeed in the cannabis industry, you need a lawyer by your side to help you avoid the devastating consequences of stepping over the legal line. To put your cannabis business on the right path, call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.