New York’s Cannabis Control Board has agreed that cannabis advertising should cater less to children. The state regulations tighten their grip on advertising in the marijuana sector they have laid down some ground rules as far as marketing is concerned. Candy references, neon colors, cartoon characters, and bubble letters on cannabis packaging are arguably out of the question as new cannabis products begin to graze the dispensary shelves.
The legal age to consume cannabis in New York is 21. As a result, any references aiming to attract the attention of the younger generation are prohibited, including advertising images of celebrities who appear to be under the age of legal consumption. Further regulations require that the product’s packaging refrains from using terms such as “safe” and “organic” portraying that cannabis provides health benefits. Starting June 15th, draft regulations will partake in a 60-day public comment period before finalization.
Reports show that the exposure to edibles has increased with the expansion of THC legalization across the country, which has guided New York’s Control Board in further regulations regarding underage consumption and awareness. For example, cannabis advertising is outlawed within 500 feet of playgrounds, schools, libraries, and childcare centers. Packaging for products containing cannabis is also required to be child-resistant for children under five to easily access.
These adjustments are somewhat feasible even with the small canvas cannabis packaging provides. The measures taken by New York continue to progress due to increased edible exposure to underage consumers. As far as labeling is concerned, regulators insist on small warning icons being present providing additional information on the products containing THC. These labels include information that the cannabis was sourced and grown in the state of New York, the 21+ age restriction, and a THC symbol as well. Serving size and the total amount of cannabis components such as CBD and THC is also a permitted staple of information that product packaging must entail.
Old school marketing tactics are also on the “no-fly” list, terms such as “Stoner”, “Weed”, “Sticky Bud”, “Pot”, and “Chronic” will be restricted in advertising. As well as individuals smoking and vaping and featured photos of the cannabis plant itself. Similarly, risks of cannabis consumption will also need to be stated when marketing products. For example, “Cannabis can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of cannabis.”
Further regulations for packaging are as followed:
• Total mgs of THC per serving and per package must be listed in bold.
• Packaging must list any solvent used in the product.
• A QR code must be placed on the outside of the packaging linking the certificate of analysis.
• Must have tamper-proof and child-resistant packaging.
• There should be no mention of customer loyalty programs, reward programs, coupons, or prices.
• Rotating warnings about the risks of weed use are to be on all ads.
The first licensed dispensaries in New York are predicted to open their doors right around the end of the year. Meanwhile, farms are trying to push out the product to provide and supply the expanding legal market. Recently, 16 new registered farms have been approved in the state adding to the already 162 licensed farms legal for cultivation.
We are yet to see other states take such measures in cannabis advertising as far as labeling and packaging regulations are concerned. However, these new policies are sure to gain traction if children are seen reaching for a “special” or “adult” cookie accidentally. Regardless of new restrictions though those Hershey’s and Skittle references sure do look yummy the state as a whole agrees that targeting an underage audience is not the way to go about advertising cannabis. As the marijuana market continues to expand, the positive aspects and health benefits of the plant will surely shine with some good things need no label.