So you’ve got a cannabis product that needs packaging? Where to start? If it’s an edible or consumable, there are strict guidelines as far as what needs to be included on the labeling. You’ll also need to decide what part is variable and will need to be done with a sticker, so you can ensure there is room left for that. 

Of course, it will also need to be child-resistant, which means difficult for children under 5 to open. Any orally consumed concentrate, suppository or edible product must be packaged so they can be opened and closed, while maintaining its child resistance. But all single-serving cannabis products, inhaled concentrates, topicals, and flower or flower-only pre-rolls need not be. However, these single-use products must clearly indicate on the label that “This package is not child-resistant after opening.” 

The packaging also can’t be appealing to children or imitate non-cannabis food products, so no cartoons, imitating candy labeling, the word candy or candies and no more clever word play. 

If it has more than one serving it will need to be resealable and opaque if it’s edible. 

What about wording on the packaging? What needs to be included? 

  • The product identity – what is the generic name identifying the product?
  • Universal Symbol – the California symbol that identifies items as containing cannabis
  • THC and CBD per package – for all manufactured products
  • THC and CBD per serving – for edibles and concentrates with designated serving sizes
  • Any other cannabinoid that makes up 5% or more of the total cannabinoid content if labeled after testing
  • Net weight or volume – This has to be the weight expressed in both metric and U.S. customary units
  • “Cannabis infused” – this must be listed on edible products
  • Allergens – if applicable, the word “Contains,” followed by a list of any major food allergen 
  • Artificial food colorings – if your product includes them
  • Lot or batch number 
  • Date of manufacture/packaging – include month, date and year
  • Expiration, Use-by or Best-by date – if applicable.
  • “For Medical Use Only” – if THC concentration is more than is available amount for sale in the recreational market
  • Cannabis product government warning statement 
  • Ingredients in order from most to least by weight or volume, including any sub-ingredients
  • How to use directions and any preparation that’s needed
  • Applicable refrigeration notices
  • Manufacturer name and contact information 
  • Sodium, sugar, carbohydrates, and total fat per serving in milligrams/grams
  • UID number
  • Licensee name/phone number or website – can be either the name of the licensed cultivator or the licensee packaging the product, but must be a name listed on the license certificate (either the legal business name or registered DBA)

Additionally, if applicable, Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide a “clear and reasonable warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to chemicals that are known to the state to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

What can’t be included?

  • Unproven health claims
  • The words “organic” or “OCal” unless you are registered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture or California Department of Public Health

Of course, you should always have your packaging reviewed by an experienced attorney who is well versed in the cannabis industry and packaging in particular. You should also remember that if you’re planning to wholesale your item, it must stand out on a shelf and be appealing to the consumer so it will be well placed by the dispensaries you’re selling to.