The cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth over the last several years. We’ve seen dispensaries open up around the country, but more than that, we’ve seen the rise of cannabis products like infused skincare, foods, beverages, and more. Despite the industry’s success, very few guidelines and regulations exist at the federal level regarding cannabis packaging and labeling. The majority of labeling requirements come from individual state legislation, so product packaging should adhere to the guidelines mandated by the state in which the products are sold. In this guide, we’ll explain the most common requirements for cannabis labels, as well as discuss design recommendations, label options, and more.
Cannabis Product Label Requirements
Though state regulations do differ in what must appear on cannabis packaging, there are a few common denominators across the board. Be sure to check your state’s specific guidelines regarding cannabis packaging and labeling requirements.
That being said, whether your cannabis product is a gummy or a topical cream, you’ll still need to adhere to the guidelines mandated by the FDA for those types of products. In fact, starting with those guidelines first is a great way to get the bulk of the label put together. If your cannabis product is edible in form, you’ll likely want to check out the FDA’s guidelines for labeling a food product. If your product could be classified as a cosmetic product, such as a lotion or cream, the FDA’s guidelines for labeling cosmetic products would be a great place to begin.
Child and Tamper-Proof Packaging
Though varying in some degrees by state, product packaging for cannabis products is generally required to be opaque, resealable, and child-resistant.
Statement of Identity
A brand logo and statement of identity are necessary features to include on the front panel of most product labels. While the brand logo and information tells customers about your company, the statement of identity informs them about the product. Let your customers know whether they’re buying cannabis-infused cream, CBD gummies, hemp oil, etc. Your labeling should be very clear that the product within is a cannabis product.
Net Contents and Weight
The product’s Net Weight needs to be displayed on the front panel, using both metric (grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters) and U.S. Customary System units (ounces, pounds, fluid ounces). Also be sure to indicate the amount of pharmacologically active ingredients in milligrams per serving, per package.
The Net Weight should be placed on the bottom 30% of the front panel, parallel to the base of the package.
Supplement and Nutrition Facts
If your product is intended to be consumed, either as a supplement, food, or beverage, you’ll need to include the corresponding facts panel. Be sure to list serving size, daily value percentage, and other applicable information. The Supplement or Nutrition Facts panels must be easy to read and placed directly to the right of the statement of identity.
Any ingestible or topical product must have an ingredients list located on the packaging or product label, directly to the right of the statement of identity. Ingredients should be listed in order of weight, from heaviest to lightest. Always list ingredients by their common name. Keep font size no smaller than 1/16” (though we recommend a minimum of 1/8″).
Since yours is a cannabis product, you’ll also need to include a terpenes profile and a list of pharmacologically active ingredients, including: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA); cannabidiol (CBD); cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
States vary in the specific warnings they require on cannabis labels. Most states stipulate that medical cannabis labels should display the following warnings:
- The product is a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
- If applicable for a medical marijuana product: For medical use only. For use only by the qualifying patient.
- The product may impair a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle and operate machinery, as well as impair coordination, concentration, and judgment.
- Marijuana has intoxicating effects that may be habit-forming and addictive.
- Cannabis use while pregnant or breastfeeding may be harmful.
- For use by adults 21 and older (unless the person is a qualified patient). Keep out of reach of children.
- Allergen warnings, such as nuts, dairy, soy, wheat, etc.
- Prop 65 warning if the product is sold in California.
Retailer and/or Manufacturer Information
Provide the name and address of the distributor, packer, or manufacturer of your cannabis product. Contact information is imperative here, as you want consumers to report any adverse reactions they may experience (or they could be reaching out to tell you how much they love your product).
The contact information for the Poison Control Center may be wise to add as well in case of adverse reactions or if more than the recommended serving size is consumed.
Notate the date of cultivation, manufacture, sale, and any expiration or best by dates that may apply. These dates can be printed as part of your label design, or can be added later in house by handwriting them or by using a thermal printer.
We have a Thermal Transfer laminate in Gloss you can use if you’re printing dates in house. If you’re simply writing in that information right now, consider an unlaminated paper like Avon Classic Crest or Estate 4, or a matte finish–you can take a permanent marker to any of those options without worrying about smudges.
Cannabis Label Design
Regarding design, most state regulations simply stipulate that the packaging cannot be brightly colored or styled in a way that is appealing to children. No likeness or resemblance to any cartoon characters should be present on your label or packaging. Likewise, the label or packaging should not bear any resemblance to any commercially available snack, candy, beverage, or baked good.
You still have plenty of room for creativity when designing your cannabis label. Research color theory when in the beginning stages of your branding and design, or consult a graphic designer for professional insight.
Sometimes choosing the right label material can make all the difference. Our Rainbow Holographic Plastic can add a gorgeous iridescent effect to your label design, making your product look one-of-a-kind. Black Vellum provides depth and elegance to product packaging with its ebony pigment, and can instantly dress up an otherwise basic design.
Ready, Set, Go
We hope this guide has helped you navigate the journey of designing cannabis stickers and labels. For design advice, label material recommendations, and more, please reach out to us! We are excited about label printing and always eager to lend a hand.