How Changing Laws Affect Cannabis Packaging
As the cannabis industry continues its growth across the nation, packaging is becoming more important for ensuring freshness, security, and marketing. There are no standardized laws for cannabis packaging, although the mylar bag has proven to be the industry standard over many years. Instead of a nationally standardized law, states are tackling packaging on an individual basis. Unfortunately, that can have bad repercussions for some brands.
For example, a recent change in Virginia law caused many dispensaries to remove products that no longer met with packaging and labeling laws. Many dispensaries suddenly found their shelves empty when many products no longer passed muster with state law. The same scenario has impacted sales in many states. Sometimes, the cannabis brands never recover from the disruption to their respective businesses.
Product Labeling Matters
It’s important to correctly label any type of product especially one that could be used for medicinal purposes as well as recreational ones. With semi-automatic labeling systems, this can be achieved more effectively. It’s important to clearly describe the cannabis product, its THC content, and it’s whether it’s a sativa, indica, or hybrid product. That information will help consumers to make more informed choices on the types and potency when they are in dispensaries.
It also can help to list two or three of the top terpenes and their relative amounts in cannabis products. After all, terpenes are what really give cannabis its medicinal qualities more so than THC content. Applying custom cannabis labels can help to clearly indicate the contents of any cannabis products. They also can help to promote the cannabis brand and the specific strains.
General Overview of State Cannabis Packaging Laws
Most states have similar laws governing the packaging of cannabis products. California is among the leading states that help set packaging standards for the cannabis industry. The state’s Department of Cannabis Control has issued a packaging checklist that helps producers and dispensaries abide by state laws for cannabis packaging.
Compliance with California law increases the potential for compliance with laws in other states for brands that provide cannabis products in multiple states. The checklist requires the packaging to be sealed to show if someone has tampered with it. A sticker across an opening, a plastic seal, or a lid that pops up when cannabis jars are opened are examples of acceptable tamper-evident indicators.
The packaging also has to be relatively childproof to make it a lot harder for young children to open packages containing cannabis products. The state determines acceptable standards for child-resistant packaging to include any packaging that meets the requirements of the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act and bottles with pry-off crowns or cork-style bottle caps that are intended for single use. Plastic packages must have a thickness of at least 4 mils and be heat-sealed.
New Packaging Regulations for Edibles
A newer wrinkle in packaging regulations regards edibles, which might be packaged in single-serving or multiple-service units. For example, California requires the packaging to be opaque when holding edibles so that people can’t see what is inside. Only drinks made or infused with cannabis can be served in clear containers that usually are made from glass. The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued regulations restricting the packaging of edibles with the primary goal being to protect children against accidental ingestion.
The packages no longer resemble popular foods or candies, which might cause a child to open one or more and eat what looks like a common treat. For example, if a child were to open a container of gummies that are infused with THC, that child might overdose and require medical treatment. The new federal regulations are aimed at Delta 8 products that are not banned by the federal government, but some states are adopting them for medicinal and recreational cannabis, too.