The spread of legalized recreational marijuana, driven by a spate of ballot initiatives, has created a whole new market for small-business owners to operate within. Becoming a factor in this young industry will take more than determination and a good business concept, however. Companies may succeed or fail based on their ability to maximize the details governing marijuana products, such as the required label disclosures designed to encourage safe use of cannabis-infused goods.
As with alcohol and tobacco, label disclosures are an essential part of responsibly made marijuana products. In a sharp contrast with those established markets, however, the patchwork of laws governing marijuana packages are in constant flux, differing by state and over time. Operators of companies will have to focus on the directives coming from regional authorities.
Colorado changes its rules
In many ways, Colorado has served as a trailblazer for other states that eventually voted to legalize marijuana. Colorado has spent the past few years creating and adjusting a legal structure to turn items that were previously outlawed into safe and profitable commodities. The state recently issued a new set of packaging guidelines for companies that make or distribute marijuana products, mainly amending its existing code with new definitions and requirements. By the middle of this year, stores can't take possession of items with the old label style.
The detailed rules carefully delineate the ways in which business-owners must label the containers their products come in, and stipulate that producers have to use a distinctive diamond-shaped warning symbol on those labels. The detailed code shows the effort that has gone into it thus far, but stakeholders should keep in mind that there's nothing stopping legislators from amending it more if new deficiencies become apparent.
Massachusetts prepares for launch
While Colorado has years to tweak its approach to marijuana labeling and enforcement, the Bay State is launching packaging rules for the first time following passage of a 2016 ballot initiative. A Mintz Levin legal article for Lexology focused on the draft regulations approved by the Cannabis Control Commission.
The draft rules, which are meant to be finalized by mid-March, will include warning label and serving size stipulations. Products will have to state the amount of marijuana within each item in ounces, and specify every ingredient that went into the item. Marijuana goods will also be required to have directions, and all labels must receive CCC approval for use.
A fast-moving industry
Labeling cannabis products means complying with laws that are subject to near-constant change. Companies that print their own labels may gain the added agility needed to thrive in such an environment. Check out Optimedia Labs' U.S. or Canada stores to find printers for in-house use.