Cannabis Label Compliance

Cannabis Label Compliance Overview

Understanding how to achieve cannabis label compliance can be challenging, with the numerous rules and regulations that need to be followed. Every state that has legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes has its own set of labeling regulations. 

In order to comply with cannabis regulations, cannabis product labels must provide a great deal of relevant information. The laws specify what information must be shown on the label of all cannabis products, as well as where and how it must be displayed.

Marijuana labeling rules are enacted by state authorities in order to reduce the attraction and appeal of cannabis goods, especially to young people, and to prevent unsuspecting consumers from mistakenly swallowing an apparently ordinary-looking product. In order to guarantee that customers are aware of what they’re buying and to avoid accidental usage, cannabis products must be clearly labeled. When it comes to buying marijuana, knowing what’s in it gives the customer peace of mind and keeps them safe from the effects of certain cannabinoids.

For businesses, noncompliance with cannabis labeling rules may result in hefty penalties, product recalls, company closures, and potentially license and certification revocation. For instance, a mislabeling incident involving cannabis products in Oregon has resulted in hospitalizations and litigations. The mislabeling issue was first brought to light in September 2021 and 13 plaintiffs immediately started bringing lawsuits against the company Curaleaf.

To prevent these tragic situations, it is vital for companies to follow up-to-date laws and best practices to ensure that their product labels include accurate cannabis information. Continue reading to take an in-depth look at cannabis label compliance requirements, what it entails, and what you can do to stay compliant.

What needs to be on a CBD/Cannabis label?

Primary Panel 

Also known as brand or prime label, this label is consumer-facing, which means that it is the first picture that a prospective buyer sees while looking at the items placed on a retail shelf as they enter the store.

The content on these labels varies from state to state but certain basic information is common throughout all of the states.

The primary panel may include Product name, Branding, Weight or volume in net terms, Symbols or markers, Identification digits for batch tracking, and Content of cannabinoids. 

Information Panel

Also known as a secondary panel, this panel may be placed on the back of the package, underneath the main panel, or anywhere else on the packaging that is visible. This panel provides necessary information that does not need to be shown on the front.

It includes additional information to help consumers learn more about the product. Customers may scan QR codes on this part of the label to get more information about a product.

The information panel may include name of business and contact information, name and kind of plant strain, serial number, Indica or Sativa distinction, cultivation, testing, and expiration dates, testing lab information, and THC, THCA, CBD, CBN, and other percentages.

Warnings

Due to cannabis’s potential significant intoxication, the majority of states require particular warning labels on cannabis products. Marijuana labels must prominently show a variety of warning signs in order to safeguard both children and adults.

Certain words on certain typical cannabis warning labels explain that the product is or contains the following: Health dangers, only for medicinal purposes, not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, not suitable for use by children or animals, restriction of age, restriction on resale and transfer and habit forming.

Prohibitions on Labeling

If the product has more than one layer of packaging, the following must also be written on the inner container: the universal symbol of cannabis for inhaled cannabis products as well as the name of the product, the universal symbol, and the net weight or volume for non-inhaled products.

Cannabis Symbol

In certain states, containers, packages, and products must include a “universal symbol” to indicate that they contain marijuana or are a marijuana product.

What is the cannabis symbol?

Certain states have adopted a universal symbol and “not for kids” symbol to indicate that a package includes or is a marijuana product. These symbols on cannabis packaging will guarantee that an individual can accurately identify and use cannabis products, which is crucial for reducing unintentional ingestion of cannabis.

The following are the symbols used in adult-use marijuana programs in some states:

California 

Massachusetts and Maine 

New Jersey

Washington

Cannabis Labeling Requirements

One of the most common areas where dispensaries make mistakes is in failing to adhere to proper labeling. Things may become complicated when it comes to cannabis labeling standards. Not all states have authorized medical cannabis. In addition, states have different labeling rules governing the criteria for cannabis goods in order to remain compliant.

Legally, cannabis labels must provide information about the product being sold. There is a resemblance between these labels and those on the nutritional facts found on packaged goods and beverages. Labels for controlled cannabis often must carry the following information:

  • Manufacturer Details
  • Active ingredients
  • Relevant dates (expiration, testing, cultivation)
  • Lab testing information

 

The outside layer of the package should always show labels in a manner that they can easily be read. Labels must also be printed in English and have a font size of at least 6 points. Additional information may be supplied as long as it is accurate and not misleading to the customer.

Images that appeal to minors may be prohibited in certain states. There are several states that prohibit the use of cartoon characters or any other references to children on the labels of marijuana products.

Cannabis products have varying labeling standards. As an example, the labels for tinctures, edibles, and flowers will all be somewhat different. Labels will include dose information, cannabinoid content, components, the date of the lab testing, and other details.

State-by-State Labeling Requirements

When it comes to labeling cannabis goods for customers, states with legalized marijuana make their own rules and regulations. Each state has different requirements so you need to be aware of local cannabis labeling laws. Keeping up with these laws is critical since they are always being amended and modified.

To give you a sense of what is required, below is a list of the labeling requirements for some states. It is required that marijuana for adult use and marijuana products for adult use include the following labeling information:

CALIFORNIA

  • Product identity
  • Universal symbol
  • Net weight or volume
  • “Cannabis-Infused”
  • The name of the manufacturer and their contact information
  • Date of manufacture/packaging of the product
  • Government warning statement
  • Unique identification number
  • Batch or lot number
  • Instructions on how to use the product as well as any necessary preparation
  • Ingredients
  • If applicable, allergens, artificial food colorings, expiration, use-by or best-by date
  • To assist you in ensuring that your label has the necessary information, here’s a checklist for CDPH labeling requirements.

MASSACHUSETTS

  • The name of the qualified patient
  • Dispensary’s name, registration number, telephone number, address
  • Amount of usable marijuana in the package
  • The date that the RMD put the contents in the package
  • Batch number, bar code, or sequential serial number to identify a manufacturing or processing batch
  • The package’s cannabinoid profile
  • A statement that the product was tested for pollutants and found to be safe, along with the date of testing
  • This statement, capitalized: “This product has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA. There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Do not drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN.”

MAINE

  • The license number of the adult-use marijuana cultivation and production facility, and retail shop where the marijuana was cultivated, manufactured, and sold
  • Universal symbol 
  • Warning labels
  • Net weight statement
  • THC potency information 
  • Solvents and gases used in marijuana extraction
  • The amount of marijuana concentrate per serving and the amount of marijuana concentrate per package
  • Ingredients and potential allergies
  • Date of expiry or recommended date of usage
  • Guidelines for use

NEW JERSEY

  • Alternative treatment center—plant cultivation name and location
  • The amount of medicinal marijuana in the package
  • A list of any additional components in the packaging besides medicinal marijuana
  • Content packaging date by ATC—plant cultivation
  • A lot number, sequential serial number, and bar code to  distinguish manufacturing and processing lots
  • The cannabinoid profile of the medicinal marijuana in the packaging, with THC not exceeding 10%
  • The strength of the medicinal marijuana strain
  • A declaration saying the product is for personal use only and not for resale

WASHINGTON

  • The business or trade name
  • The Washington state-issued unified business identification number is assigned to the licensees that produced, processed, and sold the marijuana or marijuana products
  • Net weight
  • The inventory identification number is given by the WSLCB’s traceability system
  • A statement that identifies all pesticides that were used on marijuana plants and growing medium throughout the manufacturing of the base marijuana that was utilized to generate the extract that was added to infused goods
  • If solvents were utilized, provide a statement describing the sort of extraction process that was used
  • A warning stating that the product has intoxicating effects and may create a dependence on it
  • A statement that the product may be illegal outside of Washington

CBD and cannabis labeling tips

Food Safety Plan and Nutrition Labeling – Implement a food safety plan utilizing the FDA, SQF, ISO 22000, and HACCP standards to build safety procedures and compliance methods for all commercial kitchen applications. This includes nutrition labeling and food allergy reporting.

Make sure that the user is aware of all relevant information. Transparency in the cannabis industry is important. Consumers will be more trusting of a brand if they are given more information about what they are consuming.

Make honest comments on the labels of your marijuana. Labeling issues is one of the challenges you must overcome after submitting your application. There are some companies out there selling CBD products that make unsubstantiated promises. Untested or undocumented product claims may be susceptible to legal action or federal injunction.

Customers need to be able to read the content quickly and simply. Consider the look and feel of your brand while making it easy for customers to identify THC levels and activation times.

Align the labeling with your company’s brand. When buyers see your CBD and cannabis goods, they should be able to identify the brand right away. To do this, make every effort to align your product labels with the brand. The labeling on your items should be easily identifiable by customers whether they are purchasing edibles, tinctures, or flowers.

Negative space is a great way to combat a “crowded” label. Even though it may seem impossible to achieve on a little tincture label, this is an important step that will help convey the quality of your product.

Think of a design that will make your customers stop and look at your product. In the early phases of developing your brand and design, look into color theory or seek the advice of a graphic designer.

Most states prohibit brightly colored packaging and packaging that may appeal to children. Your label or package should have no similarity to cartoon characters.

Comply with Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act labeling regulations. The FDCA specifies the minimum requirements that a CBD or hemp product must fulfill in order to be legally sold in the US. While these aspects may seem like a lot, it just takes a little imagination and knowledge of the rules to develop a great CBD label design that is FDA-compliant.

Other CBD and cannabis labeling considerations

Avoid False Medical Claims

In a competitive market, it is acceptable to highlight a product’s positive differentiators, such as its GMO-free or vegan status. False statements concerning the health benefits or therapeutic potential of a product are, on the other hand, a violation of the FDCA.

Longevity 

Labels and packaging for cannabis goods and packaging should be robust enough to endure handling throughout the cannabis supply chain. Cannabis labels must be resistant to factors such as probable tampering, fading, peeling, and chemical exposure. 

Aesthetics 

Using fonts, colors, or textures on labels is an excellent strategy. Creating brand uniformity across physical and digital marketing channels also ensures that items stand out from shelves because of their eye-catching appearance and easy recognition.

Flexibility

Labels for cannabis products must adapt to shifting legal frameworks at the state and federal levels in order to remain compliant. Businesses should bear this in mind and ensure that their cannabis label designs are flexible enough to react to changing market conditions. There may come a time in the future when new or updated information needs to be added.

Having the proper measures in your SOPs and systems will keep smooth operations in your cannabis label compliance that will give you peace of mind and low risk of legal or regulatory challenges. Cannaspire helps businesses achieve regulatory compliance success. If you are looking to address label compliance or other compliance challenges, please fill the form out below and let’s talk. 

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