The California Compliance Checklist

For your convenience, we’ve provided a brief summary of key points to remember when designing the packaging for your cannabis products for sale in the state of California. It’s definitely worth it to double-check this list to make sure you have a full understanding of California’s requirements for marijuana product packaging.

  • All marijuana packaging is required to be certified as child-resistant – this includes pop top bottles and exit packaging as well as other forms of cannabis packaging.

  • Product must feature tamper-evident safeguards (this means that the product must be protected from possible contamination).

  • If your product has multiple servings (as many do) you will need to be providing packaging that can be re-sealed after being opened.

  • Product must feature 2 labels: the Primary Panel and the Informational Panel.

  • Additional information must be supplied for edibles.

  • The California-instituted THC-label must appear on all marijuana packaging.

  • Packaging cannot be deemed alluring or attractive to children in any way including mimicking pre-existing packaging deemed attractive to children.

  • Edibles must be sold in opaque containers.

  • Exit bags must be opaque.

Knowing California’s regulations for cannabis product packaging is a requirement for any business, large or small, hoping to benefit from the projected wealth of profit to be had in the Golden State’s Green Rush. With most of the rules aimed at protecting children, you’re most likely following 90% of them anyway. The rules are likely to be tweaked here and there in the foreseeable future but knowing the rules now is vital to having both feet on the ground when those changes come. Fully acquaint yourselves with these guidelines and you’ll be back to canna-business as usual.

The Importance of Child-Resistant Marijuana Packaging

Child-resistant packaging is the centerpiece of California’s cannabis regulations and rightfully so. Certification is Everything. AB-110 stipulates that all marijuana packaging (including pop top bottles and exit packaging as well as other forms of cannabis packaging) must be certified child-resistant. The word “certified” is crucial here. If you’ve been selling products from your dispensary that you’ve deemed child-resistant, you’re still going to run into some very expensive problems if that packaging hasn’t been certified. If you’re not using packaging that has been certified as child-resistant, invest immediately!

The Many Ways to Make Your Packaging Tamper Evident

California is also placing an emphasis on tamper evident cannabis packaging. There are a variety of methods used to make packaging tamper evident but one of the most popular is the tamper evident seal. Likewise, many cannabis products employ the use of shrink bands to meet strict tamper evident regulations. Even Mylar bags that are heat sealed are an option. Regardless of which method you choose, California will require your packaging to feature a safeguard that proves the product was not accessed prior to purchase.

 

 

The Two Required Panels for California Cannabis Products

All marijuana products sold in the state of California will be required to clearly present two labels affixed to the packaging. These labels are called the “Primary Panel” and the “Informational Panel”. So what kind of information do you need to provide on these panels?

Primary Panel:

  • The product’s ID/name with text relatively sized to the most prominent text on the packaging. (This may seem like it has wiggle room but err on the side of caution. When in doubt, bigger is better.)

  • The exact phrase “cannabis-infused” must appear directly above the product ID/name in bold text in a font size even larger than that used for the product ID/name.

  • The state-instituted THC symbol must appear. (see below for specifics on this symbol)

  • The product’s net weight and/or volume.

  • The product’s content of both THC and CBD, written in units of milligrams per package.

  • The product’s content per serving of both THC and CBD, written in units of milligrams per serving.

  • The font size of the primary panel must be at font size 6 or greater while remaining in relation to the size of the panel itself as well as the cannabis product packaging or container.

Informational Panel:

  • The name and contact phone number or website of the licensed manufacturer of the marijuana product.

  • Date that the product was manufactured and packaged.

  • The following wording must appear verbatim in bold print:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS CANNABIS, A SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY ONLY BE POSSESSED OR CONSUMED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT. THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY BE DELAYED UP TO TWO HOURS. CANNABIS USE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARMFUL. CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE AND OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.

  • Products intended to be sold for medical use as well as products containing more than 1,000 mg of THC per package must include the statement "FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY."

  • A full list of all product ingredients in descending order as constituted by weight or volume.

  • Any relevant instructions for usage, including how to apply or consume the product, as well as any potential preparation required before use.

  • Clearly display the product’s date of expiration, “use by” date, and/or “best by” date.

  • Clearly display the product’s unique identifier (UID) and, if applicable, batch number.

  • The font size of the Informational Panel must be at font size 6 or greater while remaining in relation to the size of the primary panel as well as the cannabis product packaging or container. However, in the event that there is insufficient space on the packaging to present all of the required information at a minimum size 6 font, the following exception is permitted: The above warning statement must be included on the packaging at a minimum of size 6 font and the packaging must then include a supplemental label that provides the remaining Informational Panel requirements in a minimum of size 8 font.

Keeping Your Edibles State-Compliant

Edibles have their own product-specific regulations that require strict adherence. In addition to the label requirements above, marijuana edibles will need to include the following information on the Informational Panel when being sold in the state of California:

  • Listing of all product ingredients, measured by weight or volume and sorted from greatest to least

  • In the event that your cannabis edible includes any ingredients, additives, colorings, flavoring, etc. that may be deemed a major food allergen or contain a major food allergen, you must state these specific allergen-related ingredients  behind the word “CONTAINS.”

  • All artificial food colorings must be clearly named.

  • The product’s sodium, sugar, carbohydrates, and total fat per serving, as measured in grams.

  • You also won’t be able to sell edibles in transparent packaging. Going forward, all edibles will need to be placed in opaque packaging

Details About California’s Mandatory THC Label​

The California state-specific THC label that will be required to emblazon all marijuana packaging going forward has its own sets of requirements.

  • The label’s color and shape must exactly replicate that shown in the graphic.

  • Label will be sized at a minimum of 0.5 inch by 0.5 inch.

  • Label must be printed clearly.

  • Label must be featured prominently.

  • Since prominence of the symbol is paramount, dark packaging will need to print the symbol on a contrasting color or the symbol will need to be outlined in a contrasting color so that it remains clear and visible.

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