As recreational cannabis legalization inches ahead in states such as California and Massachusetts – and soon all across Canada – producers are getting ready to sate public demand for their products. If this is your industry, you understand the importance of being in compliance with all relevant rules from day one. Legal trouble could limit your ability to capitalize on the exciting potential of recreational cannabis sales. That risk means it's time to study up on what local authorities require you to print on product labels.
One of the complexities introduced by the state-by-state legalization of cannabis is differences in packaging from one region to the next. Dealing with rules that are inconsistent and liable to change is a challenge but one you'll have to rise to if you hope to succeed in the industry.
Case study: Massachusetts
Hypotheticals can go only so far when getting ready for legalization. Fortunately, the state Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts has released the guidelines it will require manufacturers to follow when their products go on sale later this year. The commission finalized the packaging rules in March, as Boston Magazine reported. At that time, it was assumed stores would open to the public in July, though delays involving testing labs and licensing processes have since pushed the date back. The selected labels include red-white-and-black octagons and triangles that warn "not safe for kids" and specify "contains THC."
The full text of the draft rules reveals more detailed information about how labels have to be designed and applied. The products must state, for instance, the date when the manufacturer's offerings were tested to ensure they were free of contaminants. Furthermore, manufacturers must find room for a lengthy statement that indicates there is limited research on the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as that users shouldn't operate machinery while under the influence. The text also notes there is no Foods and Drug Administration approval for cannabis and that the items should be kept away from children.
Be ready for future labeling needs
The current set of labeling rules in Massachusetts likely won't be the last. The recreational cannabis industry is in an experimental early stage, and the next steps could involve new packaging regulations. Add this uncertainty to the need to produce the right amount of labels to meet unpredictable demand levels, and the importance of flexible printing becomes clear.
Label printing accomplished in house is convenient, giving you control over when you print new labels, their exact contents and their quantity. Check out Optimedia Labs' U.S. site or Canadian page to find your own printer