We’ve spent decades reading nutritional facts labels on our food and drinks because we want to know what we’re putting in our bodies, and cannabis shouldn’t be any different. Californian consumers are looking to the new label on the block that will answer the question: “What’s in your cannabis?”
Come California licensing in 2018, the packaging of cannabis must have labels that, amongst other things, give consumers proper warnings and report levels of cannabinoids in milligram amounts. Under local law, Los Angeles could do the same. Although California’s labeling requirements do not necessarily become enforceable law until 2018, businesses should prepare their labels now.
“Although California’s labeling requirements do not necessarily become enforceable law until 2018, businesses should prepare their labels now.”
Cannabis as a Commodity Requires Further Regulation
The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and Proposition 64 effectively work to make cannabis a mainstream consumer commodity which, ironically, triggers the federal regulatory rules of “consumer commodities” set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thereunder, all labels must describe the product and state the entity that is responsible for the product and the amount within the package. California and Los Angeles are now applying these federal labeling requirements to fit the cannabis mold.
Prop. 64 Labeling Requirements
The big leader in the labeling and product control game is Prop. 64, which contains the nitty gritty about labeling requirements. We have compiled the top requirements and disclaimers for cannabis and cannabis products:
- Cannabis and cannabis products shall be labeled and placed in a re-sealable, child-resistant package.
- Producers must standardize a dosage maximum of 10mg of THC per serving.
Labels Must Contain:
- A list of pharmacologically active ingredients, including THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content, in milligrams per serving, servings per package, and milligrams for the total package.
- “Keep out of reach of children and animals.”
- “Schedule I Controlled Substance.”
- Identification of the source and date of cultivation and manufacture.
*Specifics for Edibles and Flowers
- Edibles need to indicate that the intoxicating effects may be delayed by up to two hours.
- Flower labels must state weight of cannabis.
Testing is the Key to Labeling
The new standardized testing requirements set forth by both the MRCSA and Prop. 64 are intended to fix inconsistent and inaccurate labeling. Where testing was not required previously, this new generation of cannabis must receive a stamp of approval by the lab prior to distribution. This ultimately will create for effective labels—indicating vital test results—and benefit consumers by setting a standard expectation for what dosages actually mean with regard to their own dosages. Although testing is not required until 2018, all cannabis businesses should start testing and labeling now to ensure that proper procedures are in place ahead of licensing applications.
Los Angeles Labeling TBD
Under California law, local laws can further extend labeling and packaging requirements. For example, in 2005, San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Program set forth rules for packaging and labeling in California for edibles. So—what does L.A. say about packaging and labeling? Well, nothing quite yet. Specifics, regulations and requirements under Proposition M are set to roll out later this year.
We may not know exactly what’s in cannabis right now, but we will soon.