Overview Of The Marijuana-infused Food Regulations

By Ian Lebowski

Colorado State was the first to be declared cannabis-friendly after legalizing medical marijuana in 2000. During that time, only a few regulations governed distribution and use of the drug. However, certain concerns have led to new rules and guidelines for cultivation, distribution, acquisition and use of marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes.

This far, edibles have proven to be broadly appealing. Many people do not want to smoke or inhale cannabis. This has seen an upsurge in the number of marijuana-infused edibles found on the shelves in different states today. The drug is also versatile and people have noticed they can add it to the recipes of almost any food.

Without proper regulation of edibles, consumers have suffered accidental health consequences. There have been cases of intoxication resulting from consuming high levels of THC in marijuana-infused foods. Some people, especially children, have mistaken such edibles for normal snacks, thus ending up in hospitals.

A 2016 report by The JAMA Network showed a 5-fold increase in cases of children less than 10 years exposed to marijuana handled in Colorado hospitals between 2009 and 2015. 48% of these cases were as a result of marijuana edibles.

In 2016, a Canadian government task force on marijuana legalization and regulation looked at the public health concerns on edibles, among other things. The task force came up with recommendations on cannabis regulations touching on 4 major aspects of cannabis-infused foods. These include packaging, portion sizes, labeling, and maximum THC content.

Current Regulations on Marijuana-infused foods

1. Marijuana edibles should come in a standard size of serving that contains not more than 10 mg of THC

Standardized serving makes it easier for consumers to estimate how much THC they are ingesting into their bodies no matter the product they buy or consume. Some states that enacted this policy include Colorado, Washington, and California etc.

  1. There should be clear indication of THC amount per serving on packages

Several states, including Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, and California have enacted this regulation. Some states, such as Colorado, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, have gone further to describe the kind of lettering acceptable on such containers. This enhances the visibility of the information about the content of the product.

  1. All marijuana edibles should be sold in opaque, re-sealable, and child-proof packaging

Until recently, marijuana was distributed in small plastic bags that could go for $10 or $25 per package. Marijuana edibles could be displayed in shelves like any other food. Some packages looked like normal snacks.

To ensure children’s safety, many states embraced this policy which was originally enacted in Colorado and Washington. Besides Colorado and Washington, this regulation is now live in Arizona, California, Illinois, Alaska, and Hawaii, among others.

So far, Colorado and Washington have the most comprehensive regulations about legal marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles. The above requirements were first carried out in Colorado. However, they have become the basic references for other regulations enacted in every other US state that has legalized marijuana.

In October 2016, Colorado went further to enhance the safety of marijuana edibles by ruling out that all packaging should have the standardized servings imprinted on the packaging, followed by a sign that contains the letters “THC”. The new rule prohibited packaging that may appeal to children as well.

Conclusion

So far, consumers, marijuana edibles manufacturers, cannabis testing labs, and regulators have embraced marijuana regulation. The public feels that their voices have been heard, and any reasonable manufacturer doesn’t want any person to die after consuming their product as a result of food poisoning.  Arcview Market Research reports that the legal marijuana market has grown immensely after legalization. It’s a growth that is largely attributed to the presence of smoking alternatives such as edibles in the legal market.


VolcanoVape founder and vape enthusiast, Ian Lebowski has been involved in marijuana industry for close to a decade now. Originally working in quality control and testing, he has reviewed hundreds of vape products over the years.

“Not For Kids” Warning Label: What It Means For Your Cannabis Business

By Jason Lammers

Effective Feb 14th, 2017 the new Not for Kids warning symbol will be required on all cannabis edibles. Here’s what it means for your cannabis business.

  • The LCB is defining marijuana edibles as “marijuana infused products meant to be eaten or swallowed”
  • Warning symbol must be a minimum size of ¾” tall x ½” wide
  • Warning symbol can not be changed in any way except for sizing purposes (as long as the minimum sizes mentioned above are met)
  • Warning symbol can be incorporated into your branded packaging or be applied as a label onto your existing packaging.
  • Warning symbol must be on the front of your cannabis packaging.
  • Warning symbol cannot cover or obscure any other information required to be on the package.
  • Warning symbol must have a black border around the edges when the label or packaging is also white to ensure good visibility

The new warning symbol requirements came about, due to concerns from the Washington Poison Center, because of an increase in calls from kids eating marijuana edibles. The 800 number on the new warning symbol is an emergency helpline, that is a free and confidential resource.

The warning symbol requirement is a great example of how both the public and private sectors worked together to craft sensible legislation to address this issue. Once it was determined that a warning symbol was needed to keep kids away from Marijuana edibles, original drafts were going to require a Mr Yuk sticker be applied to all Cannabis edibles. Clearly, anyone in the edibles industry didn’t want a Mr Yuk sticker on their edibles packaging as that would only create more confusion to the consumer. Thanks to a variety of cannabis industry leaders & organizations providing feedback to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, they listened, and developed a new more sensible warning symbol that would both be an effective warning symbol and not confuse cannabis consumers.

If you work in the cannabis industry this should be an important lesson to us all to get involved and help steer sensible cannabis legislation in the right direction. This is our industry, and the LCB does listen, so it’s on us to make sure our voice is heard. There are a bunch of great cannabis groups you can join to make sure you’re involved. Here’s a few of my favorites.

Cannabis Alliance – http://www.thecannabisalliance.us/

NORML – http://norml.org/wa/item/washington-norml

NCIA – http://thecannabisindustry.org/join-now/

MJBA – http://mjba.net/

 

For more questions on the Not for Kids Warning Symbol and/or general packaging questions you can hear me talk at Canncon on the packaging panel on Feb 18th and come see me at our booth at Cannacon Feb 16-18th, booth #141.

To Purchase Not For Kids Warning Labels you can contact me via email or go to www.420Wholesalepack.com/cannabis-labels

“Not for Kids” Deadline Approaches For Washington Edibles

WASHINGTON: The “Not for Kids” warning symbol will be required to be placed on all packages of marijuana products meant to be eaten or swallowed effective February 14, 2017. The Board recognizes that changing packaging requires time which is why the effective date was extended to 90 days after adoption in mid-February; enforcement of the new requirement will commence at the same time. For your convenience the basic requirements are listed below as well as links to the rules and additional information.

Note: We have received questions about what constitutes a “principal display panel.” The term was included for those packages that do not have a “front” to the packaging, such as a round container or other similar packaging. The principal display panel is what is presented to the consumer under conditions of retail sale. For example, what the consumer will view when the product is displayed on a shelf or case. The principal display panel is not on the back of the package.

1.   The warning symbol cannot be any smaller than three-fourths inch in height by one-half inch in width. It must be of a size so as to be legible, readily visible by the consumer, and effective to alert consumers and children that the product is not for kids.

2.   The warning symbol must be placed on the “principal display panel” or front of the package.

a.    “Principal display panel” is defined as  the portion(s) of the surface of the immediate container, or of any outer container or wrapping, which bear(s) the labeling designed to be most prominently displayed, shown, presented, or examined under conditions of retail sale.

b.    “Immediate container” means the external container holding the marijuana product.

3.    The symbol can be placed on the package/label in threeways:

a.    The digital image can be incorporated onto labels for marijuana edible products;

b.    The digital image may be downloaded and used to print stickers for placement on the front of marijuana edible products; or

c.    Licensees may choose to purchase stickers of the “Not for Kids” warning symbol for placement on the front of marijuana edible products.

4.   The symbol or stickers cannot cover or obscure any other information required to be on packages or labels for marijuana products.

5.   The symbol is trademarked and cannot be changed in any way other than for sizing purposes, except that a licensee must use a black border around the edges of the white background of the warning symbol image when the label or packaging is also white to ensure visibility of the warning symbol.

A digital image of the warning symbol can be found at the Washington Poison Center’s website and additional information is available on the WSLCB website. You can view the rules as adopted by the Board on the WSLCB’s Recently Adopted Rules webpage

The new section appears in the Legislature’s website under WAC 314-55-106. The Legislature’s website contains the most current information and versions of all laws and rules in the state.