A slew of new regulations regarding the manufacture, sale and distribution of cannabis products took effect July 1 and for local dispensaries and related businesses it will mean changes to how they package their products.
In essence, the new packaging requirements will mean more information on a cannabis product.
“There has been a huge impact on our business just based on additional and labeling requirements,” said Ray Markland, manager of EcoCann in Eureka. “You will now see a unique identification for your concentrates and all the information about how much THC, THCA, CBD and CBDA, all those kinds of things will be recorded on the box.”
The key change in the regulations is that a retailer such as EcoCann can no longer package the product — packaging must be done by the manufacturer. In fact, retailers are prohibited from accepting cannabis goods that are not properly packaged or labeled and that includes new regulations for child-proof packaging.
“Previously, we were required to child-proof our packaging but now it’s the responsibility of the manufacturer,” Markland added.
Retailers are also prohibited from labeling or packaging products that were in inventory prior to July 1, “however, for medicinal sales, retailers will place a sticker on cannabis goods stating, ‘FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY’, upon sale to a qualified consumer unless the statement is already on the package.”
The new regulations also impact the amount of THC that can be contained in edible and non-edible cannabis products.
Edible cannabis products may not exceed 10 milligrams of THC per serving or 100 milligrams per package.
Non-edible products can not contain more than 1,000 milligrams of THC per package if intended for sale in the adult-use market and no more than 2,000 milligrams of THC for sales of medicinal cannabis products.
“We have had to make changes, make it look more professional,” said Kate Haenni, executive director of Satori Wellness in McKinleyville. “Being innovative and adapting to the new regulations and finding new ways to market the product has meant we have had to invest money into new designs.”
Cannabis that is not properly packaged or labeled must be destroyed as must cannabis that has not been tested under new state testing regulations.
“I’ve been reading regulations until I’m blue in the face,” Heanni said. “You really have to have a working relationship with the governing agencies to get your questions answered. We are doing everything we can to ensure we are compliant.”
Retailers who are not in compliance with the new regulations by July 1 must destroy their product and any untested cannabis products cannot be sold by a retailer to a distributor for testing and or packaging.
The burden of the new regulations falls on those who have taken the steps to ensure their cannabis business is properly licensed, something that black market growers don’t have to do.
“It’s hard competing with the black market and the people who are trying to be compliant are paying extra fees,” Heanni added. “There are a lot of expenses involved and the black market lives right next door and it’s thriving. We want to keep medical cannabis as safe as possible.”
For more information about new cannabis packaging and labeling requirements, check http://bcc.ca.gov/.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-41-0528.