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An Easy Guide to California Marijuana Dispensary Packaging and Labelling

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One area of cannabis compliance that continues to confuse retailers is the very specific regulations regarding California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling. During this transition to recreational sales, many cannabis retailers are still packaging and labelling their products for consumers. Eventually, licensed distributors will bear the sole responsibility of packaging and labelling marijuana products properly.

We’ve created a quick and easy guide to help clarify the California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling compliance statutes that many storefronts need to be aware of before making sales.

Child Resistant Cannabis Packaging

Everyone can agree that keeping cannabis out of the hands of minors is a high priority when it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana. This is why California marijuana regulations have put in place stringent child-resistant packaging laws that would prevent them from accessing these products if somehow they fell into the wrong hands.

It critical for dispensaries to use certified child-resistant packaging as failure to so could result in a compliance violation. As for edible packaging where there are multiple doses in a single package, providing child-proof resealable packaging will be necessary to ensure that edibles stay fresh and are never contaminated.

Dispensary Exit Bags

Another stipulation per the new adult-use regulations issued by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, is that every customer must exit the dispensary with opaque exit bags. Some cannabis retailers are taking the extra precaution of using mylar exit bags to be certain they are meeting compliance.

Depending on the cannabis retailer, customers may be getting charged a small nominal fee to offset the cost of dispensary exit bags. The state is giving licensed marijuana businesses a path to compliance allowing them to use their existing package until it runs out. Although most cannabis dispensaries have been providing brown or white paper bags for exit packaging for last several years, those storefront who are not must do so to meet California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling standards.

Avoid Appealing to Children

One compliance issue that has been made very clear in regards to California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling is that no products, packaging, or labelling should be appealing to children. The BCC has been very adamant that doing so would be an infraction and be subject to their zero tolerance policy.

Selling edibles that resemble children’s candy products is a definite no-no but even using packaging that displays images of cartoons, playful fonts, or phrases that entice minors could be considered a compliance violation.  

Marijuana Product Labels

Labelling marijuana products is also a meticulous requirement for California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling compliance. However, this process can be simplified using an advanced dispensary software that can create customer labels. Any cannabis or cannabis infused product must be labelled with two separate panels. There is the primary panel and the informational panel which dispensaries must place on all products.   

The text on the primary panel must be equal to or greater than size 6 or greater in proportion to the size of the panel and consist of the following:

  • The name or identification number of the product in a prominent text size

  • If it’s an infused product, the phrase “cannabis-infused” must appear in bold text bigger than the product name and located at the very top of the label

  • The official THC symbol mandated by California (additional info below)

  • The quantity displayed by volume and/or net weight.

  • The amount of THC and CBD contained in the product, measured in milligrams per package

  • The amount of THC and CBD contained per serving, measured in milligrams per serving

The informational panel must consist of the following:

  • The licensed manufacturers name and contact information

  • The date of creation and packaging

  • The government warning 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.

If your dispensary has license to sell medical marijuana there is specific language that must be printed on these labels in accordance with California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling laws. You must include the following on any medical marijuana products:

  • The statement “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY”

  • A complete list of all the ingredients contained in the product in order of highest to lowest percentage.

  • Specific instructions on how to use the product regarding dosage and preparation

  • The best-by date or use-by date to indicate when the product has expired

  • The product’s batch number or unique identifier code.

Marijuana Edible Packaging and Labels

Any marijuana edibles sold at a dispensary must be in opaque packaging and is required to have an additional label that provides the consumer with the following information:

  • A complete list of ingredients, measured by weight or volume and sorted from greatest to least

  • If the edible is made using a common food allergen, the text “CONTAINS” must be printed in bold followed by a list of the known allergens

  • A list of all artificial food colorings used in the manufacturing of the product

  • The amount of sodium, sugar, carbohydrates, and total fats per serving in grams

Mandatory THC Labels for California

The State of California specifically requires a THC label that must be applied to any cannabis or cannabis infused product. This label must be prominently featured and exactly replicate the design provided by the state. A contrasting color may be used if the product is sold in dark colored packaging. The required text must be printed clearly on a label that is 0.5 inches x 0.5 inches at the minimum.

While this may seem like an exorbitant amount of California marijuana dispensary packaging and labelling requirement, it’s part of doing business in a regulated market. Industry specific cannabis software, such as IndicaOnline, will allow dispensary owners to quickly create labels that are customizable and compliant For more information on our label printers and dispensary software, schedule a demo with one of our qualified technicians.

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