The Evolution of Marijuana Packaging

The Evolution of Marijuana Packaging

How it has Evolved

Marijuana packaging has always developed to meet the standards of contemporary design aesthetics, but now it is being required by law to change for safety. It’s great for California’s economy that marijuana recently became legal for recreational users; the cannabis market is expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2019. That number tops the predicted estimate for beer sales in 2019. It’s an obstacle for dispensaries and product manufacturers, however, that now have to make sure all of their items meet the legal requirements for packaging that came along with legalization.

Some of the new laws are simple, but others are more complex and require businesses to renovate their strategies to make sure they are in compliance. Legalization in California began on January 1st, 2018, and businesses were given a 6-month grace period to get their items in order; therefore, as of July 1st, if your California dispensary or marijuana company that sells products within California isn’t complying with new regulations, it is now breaching laws.


Dispensary Requirements

Most dispensaries are familiar with the new laws that require products to be contained inside a tamper-proof bag, but some are not aware that there are also new packaging rules for other items such as pre-rolls, edibles, and bud containers. You can find a full list of requirements on the California Department of Public Health website here.

Without abiding by these new laws, dispensaries could face fines or a revocation of their business license. Those consequences are dire for dispensaries and frustrating for customers that have grown to become reliant on their favorite shops. The best way to make sure business is not hindered by penalties or completely shut down is to learn about these new rules and to make sure packaging meets new standards as soon as possible.


Child-Proof Packaging

According to the CDPH, not only do new laws exist that require dispensaries to use tamper-proof, child-resistant exit bags to contain all purchased products, but there are also new laws that prohibit any packaging from being attractive to children, and only generic food names are allowed for use as the description of ingredients. These regulations are well-intended but make the move to compliance more complex than just printing new labels for packaging. Dispensaries and product manufacturers may now have to come up with new names and campaign plans for some or all of their items, which could mean ordering all new packaging items and containers.

It doesn’t have to be a difficult process to become compliant. Biohazard has been anticipating these new laws and has had child-resistant, ASTM approved bags, jars, joint tubes and drams in stock since the announcement of the new laws.

Flower and Concentrate Packaging

In addition to the new laws in place for safer bags and less child-inviting product names and packaging, labels and containers for bud flowers, pre-rolls, and concentrates must yield to new laws as well. The CDPH states:

  • Cannabis (flower and pre-rolls that only contain flower) must meet the basic requirements outlined in the Business and Professions Code: Division 10, Chapter 12
  • Pre-rolls that only contain flower must follow all packaging and labeling standards outlined in the California Business and Professions Code
  • Pre-rolls that contain both flower and concentrates ("infused pre-rolls") must meet all packaging and labeling required of manufactured products, as outlined in the MCSB regulations for cannabis manufacturers

In short, these rules mean that new labels with specific language must be present on all containers, and that new regulatory stickers must be placed on all containers as well.

There are many dispensaries around the Los Angeles area that still may not even be close to being in accordance with the new laws; we’ve encountered shops recently that sold us jars of flowers that weren’t labeled at all. Not only is this now against the law, but it’s also a bit frustrating for customers who might be trying out new strains and can’t remember later on what it is they bought because the container isn’t labeled.

We’re not saying these are necessarily black market shops but this past June, California Governor Jerry Brown proposed funding to dispatch five teams dedicated to investigating shops that are operating illegally. The push to make dispensaries comply with new regulations will only become more pressing over time so it’s best to prepare now.

Labeling and Direct Printing

Deciding on labels and packaging can sometimes be an uneasy task to navigate, especially when time is limited. A lot of time can be wasted looking for the correct packaging and labels only to find out it just doesn’t exist how it needs to.

Biohazard anticipated the future needs for new law-conforming labels as well as new specific labeling for businesses having to re-arrange their labeling and packaging strategies. We not only have California Compliant RX labels but also RX labels available for Colorado and Washington.

We know that though a business might be complying with the new RX label and child-resistant bag and container laws, they might still have to comply with new packaging and labels that make their products less desirable for children.

Fortunately, Biohazard also specializes in customized marijuana packaging and printing! This is especially convenient for businesses that need to renovate the look of their products to abide by new laws, as we can quickly provide quality packaging, even with a low minimum order. Our packaging and labels are also BPA-free acrylic and fully compliant, approved and tested.

A huge benefit to our custom printing program is that businesses can choose whether they want their design printed on a label or printed directly onto the packaging. We can easily make new packages look exactly as requested, along with new safety regulations so there isn’t any worry about fines or license revocation.

We know that the new packaging and label laws are frustrating, but Biohazard has everything any marijuana establishment will need to abide by the new regulations. We really don’t want any company to go under when we’re right here to provide all the necessary services needed to stay in business!