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Packaging & Labeling Guide For Cannabis Products

Published: 2022-06-23

Packaging and Labeling Guide for Cannabis Products

It's essential to ensure that your cannabis packaging and labeling clearly communicate important information to your customers. This guide will dig into how you can follow all requirements and regulations for your retail cannabis products.

The Importance of Proper Cannabis Labeling and Packaging

Properly packaged and labeled cannabis products work together to keep you, the product and your customers safe. The packaging guards the product against contamination and provides a place for the label, which displays ingredients and other required regulatory information. By following packaging and labeling regulations, you can help protect your customers from harm and yourself from liability.

Cannabis Packaging Requirements

Cannabis packaging requirements are in place to ensure the safety of consumers and their families. Since the U.S. currently lacks any federal cannabis regulations, these requirements vary from state to state. Be sure to check your state's regulations for a complete list of local requirements.

Of the five common requirements we've listed below, the first two apply to all states that have legalized cannabis.

1. Child-Resistant

All cannabis packaging must be child-resistant. Child-resistant packaging is difficult for a child under the age of five to open, such as bottles with a pry-off cap or heat-sealed plastic packaging at least four mils thick.

If the product is single-use, some states may require the packaging to state that it's no longer child-resistant once opened.

2. Tamper-Evident

Cannabis packaging must be tamper-evident. Rather than making it difficult to open, tamper-evident packaging provides a visual way to tell if someone has already opened the package. Packaging in the cannabis industry often uses a perforated die-cut design, providing easy access for the customer.

A tamper-evident seal should have a unique design to make it challenging for someone to duplicate.

3. Resealable

Some states, such as Alaska , California and Rhode Island , require resealable cannabis packaging. Depending on additional state requirements, resealable packaging may include:

  • Plastic zippers.
  • Taped seals.
  • Lids.
  • Box tops.

4. Opaque

Several states, such as Florida , Alaska, California and Hawaii , require opaque packaging. Keeping the contents obscured unless the package is open serves two purposes:

  • Deterring children: An opaque package prevents children from seeing edible products that they may find tempting. Children are less likely to dig into a cannabis product if they can't see what's inside.
  • Protecting the product: Opaque packaging protects products that may lose some of their characteristics if it spends too long exposed to light. Storing cannabis products in packaging that protects them from light helps them stay potent longer.

Packaging and Labeling Guide for Cannabis Products

Cannabis Labeling Requirements

Cannabis labeling requirements also vary from state to state. While it's still important to check your state's regulations, this cannabis label guide will help you understand what information your product should communicate to your customers.

1. State-Specific Warning Labels

Since U.S. federal law still considers cannabis a Schedule I Controlled Substance , many states require general warning labels on every cannabis package. This label's information varies according to state regulations and what form the product comes in.

For example, the Washington state labeling requirements for marijuana-infused edible products call for the following warnings:

  • Habit-forming: Cannabis product labels must include a warning that their use may be habit-forming.

  • Geographical restriction: Since cannabis is only legal at the state level, labels must provide a warning that the product is illegal outside of Washington state.

  • Motor vehicle restriction: Labels must warn users that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana is against the law.

  • Delayed effects: Cannabis labels must caution users that the product's intoxicating effect may not set in for two or more hours.

  • Warning symbols: Labels for cannabis products sold in Washington state must include the Marijuana Universal and Not for Kids symbols.

Research what information your state requires on your labels or come to Nev's Ink and purchase a state-specific label prepared with all the information your state requires.

2. Full Ingredient and Nutrition List

States like Minnesota and Oregon require cannabis labels to include all ingredients in the product, listed in descending order by either weight or volume. Labels on edible cannabis products should also include nutrition information such as the sodium, carbohydrates, total fat per serving and sugar contents.

The label should also state if the user needs to refrigerate the product upon purchase or after opening.

3. Primary Panel

California requires the use of a primary panel, the front-facing label on retail cannabis products. This label should display your branding and any information you want your customers to know. The primary label has several required characteristics:

  • Product identity: The primary label should identify the product in common, generic terms. You might identify an edible with “chocolate” or “fruit chew.” A topical product may use the term “lotion.”

  • Universal symbol: This label should include the universal symbol for products containing cannabis.

  • Net weight: The product's net weight or volume should appear in both ounces and grams.

Additionally, primary labels for manufactured edible products should clearly state that they are “cannabis-infused.”

4. Informational Panel

California divides its requirements between a primary and informational panel. Other states simply require a single label with all necessary information. Some of that information may include:

  • Serial number: A unique serial number promotes easy tracking. It also matches products to a producer's batch or lot numbers, helping to identify items involved in warnings or recalls.

  • Testing information: The informational label may include a statement confirming any testing the cannabis went through for allergens, contaminants or potency levels. If an independent facility conducted the tests, the label should include its name.

  • Plant strain: Some states require the label to include the name of the cannabis strain the product uses.

5. Important Date Information

Most states require cannabis product labels to include a date. Your state's regulations will determine which dates you'll need to use. Several states call for the date of:

  • Harvest

  • Manufacture

  • Final testing

  • Packaging

  • Sale

  • Expiration

6. Contact Information

In several states, the label must include the name and address of the manufacturer, dispensary, processor or distributor. This information helps your customers contact the appropriate people if they discover an issue with their product and helps build their trust with you.

Contact Nev's Ink for Custom Cannabis Labeling and Packaging Solutions

Nev's Ink offers custom solutions that will fit your state's requirements for cannabis labels. We have a wide variety of label options — choose between pre-made or customized to fit your needs! Our state-specific and generic labels will help you follow requirements to a tee.

Contact Nev's Ink to learn more about how we can get you the packaging and labels your cannabis products need.

Packaging and Labeling Guide for Cannabis Products

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