Getting Cannabis Packaging Right

Getting Cannabis Packaging Right

More states are legalizing medicinal and adult-use cannabis, which means competition for placement is getting harder. It’s incumbent on growers, cultivators, and dispensaries to adhere to all of the required regulations. Creating labeling that stands apart is critical but also following proper labeling requirements ensures your products make it to market. 

Because cannabis isn’t legal federally, each state where it is legal determines labeling requirements for items such as smell-proof jars and mylar bags. Guidelines are updated and revised often, making staying compliant challenging and complicated if not downright frustrating.

The bare minimum is to be sure to follow cannabis labeling regulations as established by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. There are some essential boxes to check off.


Name and Location of Business

It’s vital to include the name and location of the business on both the inner and outer information panel. Customers appreciate having a way to contact the company for questions. Nowadays, a QR code is a handy way to offer that information while saving space on your labels.

Product Identity

The Product Display Panel must include information about your product and what it does – for example, is it for adult or medicinal use? Putting this vital information on the Product Display Panel makes it easy to locate.

Net Quantity of Contents

A finished product’s total weight or volume, minus the Net Quantity’s packaging, is a federally mandated requirement. Packaged liquid products should be labeled in fluid measurements. Dry weight is for packaged solid, semi-solid, and viscous products.

Warning Statements

Despite being legal in 18 states, cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Because of this, each product type should have a unique warning statement. For example, medical cannabis products should state “for medical use only,” for example.

List of Ingredients

A complete explicit statement of all ingredients in your cannabis product is required to be on the informational panel on the outer packaging. The types of compounds present, percentages, and dosage for the product should all be included. Plus, it is required that all cannabis products include cannabinoid profiles. If the product doesn’t have any outer packaging, it must be placed on the product package itself.

Disclosure of Critical Facts

Critical facts typically include application instructions, suggested use, and the expiration date. Customers appreciate having easy access to this information.

Label compliance doesn’t just mean including all the necessary information. It’s often just as crucial to know what not to put on your label.


Unapproved Health Claims

Because federal and state laws do not acknowledge cannabis as a dietary supplement or substance that can prevent, treat, or cure serious diseases, it’s best to leave any unsubstantiated or false health claims out.

Obscured Fonts

Most states with legalized cannabis require labels to use a font and text size on information panels that are clear and easy to read. It can be challenging to find artistically appealing typography in line with your vision and maintain state and federal compliance.

Once your product labeling fulfills all of the necessary federal and state requirements, choosing an appropriate packaging material is essential.

The type of product can affect the material you choose for the label. Labels for liquid cannabis products can contact the liquid itself or be subject to condensation. The label can then fall off or become damaged and illegible. A polypropylene label is preferred for liquids because it’s waterproof, oil-resistant, and more durable than a paper label.

Other options are less functional and more aesthetic. For dazzlingly vibrant colors and flashy designs, a glossy finish is perfect. A glossy label holds the ink better than a matte finish and makes the design stand out. Conversely, a matte finish provides a classically vintage and distressed look. Like dressing up for a night on the town, the choice boils down to what image you want to project.

No matter how good the quality of your product is, it won’t get on retail shelves if it doesn’t meet primary state and federal labeling requirements. More than just rule-following, compliant and effective labeling builds customer trust and loyalty and builds brand credibility when it comes to proper cannabis packaging.

Again, rules and regulations get updated and modified frequently. Consistently check-in to make sure your product meets the latest requirements. Meet the basic needs, and let your inner artist design an eye-catching label.

Reading next

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New NORML Reports Positive Highlights On Cannabis Reform

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