Working in specialized industries usually comes with its own set of quirky rules and little-understood regulations that can severely hamper a business when a print, packaging or advertising job runs astray of mandated requirements. In the cannabis industry, it is extremely important to know and follow all state regulations. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines at best or loss of a license at worst. Core Print & Packaging is accustomed to working with customers to ensure their print jobs are compliant with all state cannabis regulations, no matter where they may be located. But a basic knowledge of how regulations might impact your print job is always good to have on hand. The following are the key areas that most impact print jobs in the cannabis industry, as well as the things you should keep in mind when planning your next project. 

Packaging: A primary goal of most state cannabis packaging regulations is to prevent distribution of cannabis products to minors and the black market. Therefore, these regulations are critical to follow to the letter, making packaging compliance an absolute priority. While many laws are similar from state to state, laws can be slightly (or sometimes very) different depending on the jurisdiction, and states revise regulations frequently. Some of the key areas of your packaging to carefully manage include:

  • Child-resistant packaging: Most states require that dispensaries place cannabis purchases in opaque, child-resistant jars or bags. In addition, many products must also comply with child-resistant packaging regulations.
  • Product-specific packaging: Many states have very specific requirements for the type of packaging that must be used for different types of products. 

Label messaging: State regulations on labels may vary, but most every state requires that the content and messaging of the label must take precedence over any design or color choices. Specifically, information about the contents of the package must be included. This typically includes potency information of the cannabinoids present in the product, information on testing that was conducted on the product and information on any nonorganic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides used during the planting, growing, and cultivation of the cannabis. In addition, most states require a universal “THC” symbol with language warning about the content and to keep the product away from children. Finally, any depiction of cartoon characters or images that would appeal to children are typically prohibited, as are use of bright colors and any references to “candy” or “candies.” While this is not an exhaustive list of requirements, these are the most prevalent from state to state. Follow this link to view labeling and packaging laws by state, and check back often as these rules are frequently changing.

Advertising: Developing and placing advertising for legal medical and recreational cannabis can be a tricky proposition. Many states only allow cannabis advertising in print publications, websites, TV and radio stations that attract an audience with fewer than 30 percent under the age of 21. In addition, many states with legal cannabis industries prohibit placing advertisements in jurisdictions outside of the state, effectively eliminating any nationally placed ads. Just as in the alcohol industry, advertisements appealing to underage consumers are prohibited, and language making unproven claims of efficacy or promoting overconsumption is also prohibited. Very often, states may prohibit cannabis advertising from placement on billboards within a certain distance of state borders (to discourage interstate commerce). Finally, use of celebrities or images that may appeal to underage consumers are often prohibited. Check out the advertising laws from some of the bigger markets like Colorado and California, which are actually very different.

Summary: As you can see, there is an increasingly growing number of requirements and regulations to follow in the cannabis space, and regulations are always undergoing review and change. Fortunately, we keep up with  regulations and can serve as your guide when developing any printing project. Trust the expertise of Core Print & Packaging for your specialized business needs. We will work with you to ensure your job is compliant with all applicable laws, while still standing out from the competition.