How Do I Ensure My California Cannabis Packaging and Labeling are Compliant? Use This 19-Point Checklist Before Getting Fined by the State!
When we first launched Coachella Premium products and our BHO lab under Coachella Manufacturing – we knew there would be a huge learning curve on packaging and labeling compliance. The regulations issued under California’s Medicinal and Adult Use Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) are detailed and complex.
We had no idea what we were really in for!
Licensed cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors who aren’t on point with their packaging will find themselves devoid of customers. It isn’t enough to have a great product that people want to buy. You often need a package for your package to satisfy California’s new regulatory requirements. It’s true the state will probably grant some leeway in these early stages of a regulated environment – but we’ll all need to get with the program quickly.
Deciding exactly what packaging is required and what to put on the labeling (and where to put those labels) are topics of a 42-page SOP from our compliance manager. The table of contents won’t even fit on one page!
This summary and 19-point “checklist” gives you a quick rundown on what you need to know about compliant cannabis packaging in California. We encourage you to conduct your own research, but I wish this resource existed for us on January 1st!
Licensed, California BHO Extraction-as-a-Service (AKA “Tolling” or “Buyback”)
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19-POINT CHECKLIST FOR CANNABIS PACKAGING IN CALIFORNIA
What packaging requirements are needed to be compliant in today’s California Legal Cannabis Market?
- Child Resistant Features: Whether a pouch, box, jar, cartridge, or tube that contains your product, it isn’t enough to feature child resistant features. The packaging needs a Certificate of Conformity to ASTM Standards.
- Tamper Evident Label: Either the actual package, or the package within the package, needs to feature a tamper evident label. Think about when you buy medicine or food.
What labeling requirements are needed to be compliant in today’s legal California Cannabis Market?
- Tamper Evident Labeling Statement: Something along the lines of “This box features a tamper evident seal. Do not use if seal is broken or shows signs of tampering.”
- Product Type: This is fairly simple. What is it? A vape cartridge? A concentrate? Flower?
- Universal Cannabis Symbol: It isn’t enough to have the new cannabis symbol on your package. Make sure it is .5’’ x .5’’ or greater, and that it is prominently featured on the primary display panel of your product. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:
- Net Weight or Volume of Cannabis within the Package: This is pretty self-explanatory. What is the total weight of the product? This also needs to go on the primary display panel.
- THC/CBD Content within the Package: We mistakenly featured this as a percentage of the weight. We now show how much THC and CBD is inside the package in MG.
- Details on Manufacturer: For manufactured products… What license holder produced it? While the regulations don’t require the license number, they do require contact information such as phone, website, or physical address.
- Batch or Lot Number + UID: A batch number is generated from most seed-to-sale systems (and if it isn’t, find a new one). We use Trellis, which is a California company. Track and trace UIDs aren’t used until a manufacturer (or cultivator providing biomass to a manufacturer) has an annual license.
- Date of Manufacture: For manufactured products, when was it made?
- Date of Packaging: For manufactured products or flower, when was it packaged?
- Source & Date of Cultivation: Who grew it, and when was it harvested?
- Ingredients (Descending by Volume): Again, think of food or medicine. What’s in it?
- Active Ingredients: The language in the regulations doesn’t specify if featuring test results with a QR code is enough, so the details you include here are up for debate. But it is listed as a packaging requirement.
- Instructions for Use: You may think this is self-explanatory, but don’t forget that we’re in a new world. More and more adults will try cannabis for the first time. Tourists will visit California and want to live the California dream. Don’t be the company whose edible lands someone on the dark side of the moon. Please.
- Instructions for Storage: Ever leave a vape cartridge in a hot car? Being in Coachella, California – I have and it ain’t pretty. Most products should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Expiration Date / Use By Date / Best By Date: Depending on what you manufacture, this requires some judgment and probably merits a working session from your team. How you communicate this is subjective, but it needs to be on the package.
What warning statements are needed to be compliant in California’s legal cannabis / marijuana industry?
- Prop. 65 Warning & Warning Sign: What specific items you include on this list are up to you and your counsel. But you should absolutely take Prop 65 seriously! The fines are serious, and extend beyond regulatory violations.
- CA PROP 65 WARNING: This product can expose you and those in your immediate vicinity to Marijuana Smoke, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer, and Benzene, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.PS65Warnings.ca.gov
- Government Warning: We use the following government warning.
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 CONSUMBED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT. THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF CANNABIS 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. That’s it! Simple, right?
Are you a licensed distributor in California with existing dispensary accounts and a sales team? We’re looking for a few good partners for some amazing brands. Visit this link and tell us more about your company.
Turn your trim, small nugs, flower, or live material into shatter, wax, crumble, sauce, diamonds and more! We charge on a per gram or per pound run basis, and can even package for retail.
Coachella Manufacturing LLC
(CA Type 7 Volatile Manufacturing)
I won’t promise you this list is complete, but hopefully you are more informed than you were when you first clicked. Packaging is extremely complicated, and your ability to address these – and particularly how you implement the information amidst a pile of SKUs – will separate your company from the pack and keep you from racking up fines for non-compliance California market. Thanks for reading. Don’t miss our upcoming articles where we’ll answer these questions and take a deeper look into packaging and labeling compliance and much more. Visit CoachellaManufacturing.com or keep a look out for our e-mails.
- What will New Testing Protocols Do to California’s Supply Chain? Bottlenecks, Product Loss, and COGS Evaluations to Consider
- What is a “Primary Display Panel,” where does it go, and what do I need to do to be compliant? (California Cannabis Packaging Rules Volume #2)
- Dos and Don’ts when Dealing with California Cities & City Officials – How to Avoid “Adelanto’ing “or Being “Adelanto’ed!”
- What is an “Information Panel,” where does it go, and again – what do I need to do to be compliant? (California Cannabis Packaging Rules Volume #3)
- How Can My Distributor/Manufacturer Partner with Other Distributors/Manufacturers to Maximize Commercial Opportunities and Survive the Regulated Market?
- How Can I Maintain Shelf Space Without a California License? White Labeling to the Rescue!
To Success in a Regulated Market, Justin Beck Co-Founder Coachella Manufacturing Cultivation Technologies, Inc. www.CultivationTech.com