January 1st wasn’t only the beginning of legalized recreational cannabis for Californians; it also marked the start of a multitude of new laws and regulations that touch every sector of the cannabis industry — from potency to packaging.
Business owners within the cannabis industry face an entirely new regulatory environment in 2018. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) introduced a collection of new regulations for cannabis compliance last year — and they concern everything from the amount of THC in an edible bite to the very tracking numbers and licenses required for seeds and plants.
However, some of the most challenging regulations concern product packaging.
Cannabis dispensaries, distributors, businesses, and brands are now required to create packaging that features:
- Correct labels
- Government warning
- State warning
- Batch numbers
- Identification numbers
- Potencies and ingredients
- Child-resistant opening mechanisms
…and much more.
Does it sound exhausting? That’s because, for many business owners, it is. Let’s explore what these regulations mean for cannabis businesses in 2018, and how they can overcome the compliance challenges for packaging.
New regulations and more complex compliance laws for cannabis product packaging
Going into 2018 many business owners and brands within the industry have had to face a wakeup call: ensuring that all product packaging is fully compliant or face legal consequences.
Cannabis businesses will have to take into account a host of new packaging regulations. These new regulations range from the cosmetic (labeling and seals of approval) to safety (appropriate warnings), to the downright ambiguous (cannot be appealing to children).
The number and complexity of these regulations have all changed with the legalization of recreational cannabis.
“The bottom line is that this is the law now. Compliance packaging needs to inform consumers that the product is tested, approved, and passes state regulations” says Judd Boyer, Chief Compliance Packaging Officer at Capitol Compliance Management. Judd, with over 20 years of experience in the industry, knows firsthand the challenges of marketing in a changing regulatory landscape.
Holding up an enormous binder with hundreds of pages of compliance guidelines, Judd continues “It’s about public health and safety and making sure that all products meet state standards.”
However, meeting state standards for packaging has proven to be a difficult task for many cannabis businesses across California.
Are my products up-to-date and compliant?
For starters, all businesses within the cannabis industry owe it to themselves to become familiar with laws and regulations firsthand. If you are interested in finding out more about packaging and other compliance issues concerning cannabis products, you should visit the state of California’s cannabis website here.
Second, business owners need to ask themselves: do all of my products meet the standards of California’s packaging compliance laws?
The answer is likely no. And if so, then now is the time to start moving toward new packaging.
“As it stands, many businesses and even some of the most popular marijuana products do not feature compliant packaging today. Luckily for them, there is a grace period that will last until July 1st, 2018” says Judd.
Like many things, this is easier said than done. Judd continues, “Packaging absolutely requires the correct California-Approved seal, the correct government and state warnings, as well as the potencies, name of the strain, and a UID, or unique identification number.”
Staying up-to-date on compliance regulations
The good news for cannabis business owners is that they are not alone. The cannabis industry is unique in that the entire industry is going through the same challenges for packaging. But not all will succeed together.
“Many businesses aren’t prepared for the new packaging laws. If business owners don’t get on board [with packaging compliance], then they risk increased scrutiny by the BCC — including warnings, fines, and maybe even having their licenses revoked” cautions Judd.
Many fan-favorite products, especially edibles, face even more complex packaging rules. “For example, edibles are required to have opaque packaging so they are not see-through. And edibles cannot be appealing to children. This means that everything from lollipops to weed gummy bears are out of compliance.”
As Judd explains, compliance packaging is actually more complex than what most assume. And to become fully compliant with the latest packaging regulations, businesses should get in contact with experts in compliance.
CCM can help you solve compliance challenges
For many businesses, getting everything in compliance means contacting packaging companies, distributors, and even legal experts. For many small to medium-sized cannabis business owners, this can be an overwhelming task.
Especially when packaging is just one of many different parts of the overall compliance framework.
That’s where Capitol Compliance Management comes in. CCM has made a name for itself in northern California’s cannabis industry for helping cannabis businesses market and grow their brands and businesses — legally and in full compliance.
“Dispensaries do not want to take the risk of carrying products that are non-compliant. There’s simply too much at stake for them to lose their licenses. That’s where we come in” says Judd.
CCM employs compliance experts like Judd that regularly visit cannabis conventions and legal workshops to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cannabis regulations. CCM also boasts an in-house legal team made up of several attorneys who work on compliance issues around the clock.
“I have an entire checklist of compliance laws just for the packaging. So far, we’ve helped over 10 dispensaries and several national brands become compliant with California’s new recreational laws — some of the strictest in the country” says Judd.
Unfortunately, there are many cannabis businesses in need of compliance experts — and not enough Judds for each one. Cannabis businesses need to stay informed and adapt to a changing environment. Meeting packaging regulations isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. That’s where experts like Judd and his team at Capitol Compliance Management come in.
Are your cannabis products and business practices fully compliant with California’s latest laws and regulations?
Drop us a line or send an email to Capitol Compliance Management today for a free consultation on compliance and marketing solutions for your cannabis business.