Compliant Cannabis Labeling 101

The label for your cannabis product can attract lots of attention. Customers that have already tried your wares will recognize the unique and nifty branding, and repeat their purchase based on familiarity and reliability.  Likewise, a new customer will have their curiosity piqued and decide to give your brand a shot…it’s the best looking one on the shelf, after all.

But labels can attract negative attention too—from regulators!

New label requirements mandated by California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), as well as the proposed emergency regulations issued by the state’s three cannabis licensing authorities on November 16, 2017, are a departure from current practice, and could subject cultivators, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers to liability if not addressed.  The same is true with regards to the outer packaging for cannabis products.

Important general labeling provisions:

1)     Your product MUST be labeled!!

2)     The label must include a unique identifier for the track and trace program;

3)     Label language must conform to certain font and size specifications;

4)     Label language cannot contain any information that is false or misleading, or that makes health-related statements not backed by substantial evidence;

5)     Labels cannot be attractive to children.

Furthermore, your label will need to contain specific affirmative statements including:

1)     The type of cannabis product;

2)     The date of cultivation or manufacture, and a date of expiration;

3)     Net weight or volume of the product;

4)     A list of pharmacologically active and non-active ingredients;

5)     A list of allergens (if any);

6)      Special government warnings, and the universal cannabis product symbol.

Depending on your product, labels may also require the appellation of origin, servings per package, instructions for use, a statement about the medical applicability of the product, information regarding active cannabinoids or terpenes, and disclaimers detailing the potential effects of use.

With edibles the list expands to include the names of any artificial food colorings, the amount of sodium, sugar, carbs, and total fat per serving, and the words “cannabis-infused” must appear in particular correspondence with the brand name.

The detailed combination of ‘must haves’ and must-not-haves’ imposed by the new law creates significant risk of liability and unwanted cost for operators up and down the supply chain.  As such, it would be wise to seek professional advice before your product hits the market on January 1st.

For more information on this and related topics, or to setup a free consultation, please contact the Law Offices of James P. Marion, Esq.


DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information only, and should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the materials contained herein and Law Offices of James P. Marion, Esq. explicitly disclaims any liability for your action or inaction based on the contents of this article.