Reminder - Packaging and Labeling Compliance for Cannabis and Cannabis Products

Author: California Department of Public Health
Published: Jun 19, 2019
Sacramento, California


The three state cannabis agencies distributed an email on March 7, 2019, which contained packaging and labeling resources and outlined expectations for licensees to transition into compliance with the regulations adopted early this year.

Key deadlines for compliance with packaging and labeling requirements:

  • Cannabis and cannabis product packaging that was compliant under the emergency regulations but is no longer compliant under the permanent regulations can be transferred to a licensed distributor until June 30, 2019. Licensed retailers may sell these cannabis products through December 31, 2019.

Resources are available to help cannabis businesses achieve compliance with the requirements:

Some of the commonly asked questions about packaging and labeling are highlighted below:


ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Inner Container Labeling (§40403) – labeling requirements for the innermost product container if multiple-layers of packaging are used

Why are there requirements for the innermost product containers? The inner container labeling requirements were developed in support of the mandate in the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) to protect public health, inform consumers and prevent unintentional use. The rationale is that if the outer packaging is discarded, the inner container holding the cannabis product itself still contains basic information.

  • Do vape cartridges need to be labeled with the universal symbol? Yes, the cartridge itself is an inner container, and it must have the universal symbol on it. The symbol can be placed on the cartridge by imprinting it, using a sticker or otherwise permanently affixing it to the cartridge. Vape cartridges often utilize the same batteries/pens used for tobacco products, and it is important to ensure consumers are aware that the cartridge contains cannabis. This labeling also identifies the cannabis product as a legally manufactured item.
  • What size and color must the universal symbol be when placed on a vape cartridge? The symbol must be black and no smaller than 0.5” x 0.5” (§40412). The symbol is available for download on the CDPH website.
  • Do the inner container labeling requirements apply to flower and flower-only pre-rolls? No these requirements apply only to manufactured products.

UID Numbers/Track-and-Trace (§40404, 40408)

  • The Package Tag that I ordered through the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) system are too big to fit on my individual units; what should I do? Package Tags, the blue sticker ordered from Metrc, should not be placed on individual product units. Instead, it is the 24-character UID number listed on the blue Package Tag that needs to be printed onto the label of the individual unit by the manufacturer.
  • I use several package tags during my production process; which of those tags’ UID numbers should I print onto my individual units? The UID printed on the label should be the one that was on the Package Tag that was used in the final step of the production batch process. This Package Tag and corresponding UID number represent the completed production batch manufacturing process, when it became an individual unit and was packaged and labeled.
  • Is the batch number the same as the UID number? No. Batch numbers are numbers generated by a manufacturer that identify the items that are created as part of a single production batch; batch numbers correspond to a manufacturer’s internal batch production records. UID numbers are unique identification numbers generated by CCTT to track the movement of cannabis through the supply chain.

Flower and Flower-only Pre-rolls (§40404) – requirements for non-manufactured cannabis

  • Are cultivators required to follow CDPH labeling requirements for flower and flower-only pre-rolls? The CDPH requirements for labeling of flower and flower-only pre-rolls apply to all commercial cannabis licensees. The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) regulations specify that cultivators must follow all CDPH packaging and labeling requirements (CDFA regulations §8212).
  • Is the ‘source and date of cultivation’ required to be listed on cannabis labels? The UID number, which will be included on all cannabis and cannabis product labels, links to information captured in the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace system about the source(s) and date(s) of cultivation. The date that must be listed on non-manufactured cannabis is the date of packaging for retail sale; this date will inform consumers about the relative age of the non-manufactured cannabis item and allow them to make an informed decision during the purchasing process. A labeling checklist for flower and flower-only pre-rolls is available on the CDPH website to assist you with understanding and implementing the labeling requirements.

Additional questions are answered online. Visit the CDPH website to view a full list of packaging and labeling FAQs. If you have any questions that aren’t answered by the checklists or FAQs, please email us at MCSB@cdph.ca.gov.

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