August 30, 2021 | Written By: Alexis Lazzeri, Esq.

Hemp Cannabis Packaging

Gone are the days of edibles labeled “Kap’n Kronik” and “Weedos,” or being able to purchase a single slice of cannabis infused cheesecake served in a deli container. 

With the goal to both protect the public at large and the individual consumer, all licensed cannabis products in the state of California must adhere to robust, but uncomplicated, packaging and labeling requirements. These regulations, formerly promulgated and enforced by the California Department of Public Health are now under the purview of the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCC). A refresher of both packaging and labeling requirements are discussed below. 

I. Packaging Requirements. 

First and foremost, all cannabis goods are required to be in packaging that is:

It is essential that manufactured products are protected from contamination and exposure to any harmful substances. Thus, all manufactured products must be packaged as a finished product prior to any transfer of the product to a distributor. Additionally, packaging cannot be appealing to children or imitate non-cannabis food products. 

So, sadly, no more Weedos. 

A. Child Resistant Packaging is Required for All Individual Cannabis Products. 

Every individual cannabis product must be packaged in child resistant packaging. “Child resistant” is defined as those “certified as child-resistant, in accordance with the federal Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA, 16 CFR §1700.1), a bottle sealed with a pry-off metal crown bottle cap, or plastic packaging with at least 4 mils. thick and heat-sealed without an easy open tab, dimple, corner or flap.”

B. Single or Lifetime Child Resistant Packaging? Depends on the Product.

Any orally consumed concentrate, suppository or edible product must be packaged in packaging that can be opened and closed, while maintaining its child resistance. 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.” 

II. Labeling Requirements: Manufactured Products & Flower or Flower-Only Prerolls. 

Labels have two parts: Primary panel – the portion of the label most likely to be displayed to the consumer at retail and the Informational panel – any other part of the label.

There are distinct labeling requirements for manufactured cannabis products and for flower and flower-only prerolls. We will initially address the primary label and then the informational labeling requirements for manufactured cannabis products, then turning to those for flower and flower-only prerolls.

A. Primary Panel – Place on the Top or Front of Package. 

The primary panel is displayed to consumers at retail. This label is typically found on the front or top of the package. The following is required of the primary panel for Manufactured Products and Flower or Flower-only prerolls:

B. Manufactured Cannabis Product Informational Panel – Any Part of Label That is Not the Primary Label. 

Excluding the batch or lot number which must be featured on the package (but not the primary label), all items below may be included on a supplemental informational label. 

Beverage manufacturers must also label qualifying containers with the CRV recycling information. 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.” (For more information on Prop 65, see 

C. Flower and Flower-Only Prerolls Informational Panel – Any Part of Label That is Not the Primary Label. 

The following items need to be included on any part of the label that is not part of the primary label. 

D. Label Prohibitions For All Cannabis Products. (Per DCC regulations § 17408).

E. Label Placement and Appearance – If Multiple Layers, Minimum of the Universal Symbol on Inner Container. 

If the product has multiple layers of packaging, the following basic labeling must also be included on the inner container that holds the cannabis product:

Labels should always be legibly displayed on the outer layer of the packaging. Additionally, labels should be printed in the English language and at least 6 point font. Any additional information may be included so long as it is both truthful and not misleading to the consumer.  

F. Cannabinoid Content: May be Placed on Either the Primary or Informational Panel. 

Finally, cannabinoid content in milligrams may be featured either on the primary or the informational panel. This information may be added to the label by the manufacturer before testing or on the distribution premises after testing.

The following cannabinoid content information is required: 

As always, if you have any questions about these materials or other cannabis focused questions, do not hesitate to contact our office. One of our attorneys will be happy to assist you. 

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.