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Anatomy of a Cannabis Label: Cannabis Labeling Requirements


Cannabis regulation is a complex, so it’s no surprise that navigating cannabis labeling requirements is a tricky process. Noncompliance can lead to penalties ranging from fines and recalls to losing licenses or even your entire business, so proper labeling is a must for any growing cannabis company.

The cannabis industry is subject to a variety of packaging requirements, not to mention the ongoing challenge of creating designs that attract customers. Let’s break down the different parts of a cannabis label and how they impact your packaging and labeling.

Four e-juice bottles that follow proper cannabis labeling requirements.

What is Required on Cannabis Product Labels?

There are a variety of elements that are required on a cannabis label. In general, these elements must be displayed on one of the following parts of your label.

  • Primary label/primary display panel – The product label that is placed in a prominent position on the front or top of a product.
  • Information panel/secondary label – A supplementary label located on the back or sides of a container. This label can either be a separate label or connected to the primary label.

Brand name

What is it? – The name of who made the product. This brand name is typically paired with a brand logo.

Where should it go? – Brand elements are typically located on the primary panel.

Statement of identity

What is it? – A generic indicator of the product, such as gummies, oils, or creams. The statement should clearly identify exactly what your product is for consumers.

Where should it go? – The primary panel.

Net contents

What is it? – A measurement of the net weight of your product. Net contents should be expressed in terms of weight, numerical count, or a combination of the two. Weight should use both metric and U.S. Customary System units and be listed with the words “Net Weight.”

Where should it go? – Net contents should be listed on the bottom 30% of the primary panel and be parallel to the base of the container.

Supplement and nutrition facts

What is it? – Any product intended for consumption requires a facts panel detailing pertinent information. These details include serving sizes, daily value percentages, nutrients, and calories.

Where should it go? – Nutrition facts should be placed on the primary panel. However, it is acceptable to place nutrition facts on any visible alternate label for packages with insufficient area on the primary panel.

Ingredients list or panel

What is it? – Any edible or topical cannabis products should include a list of ingredients used in the product. The ingredient list should name each ingredient in descending order of predominance.

Where should it go? – Ingredients information can be placed on either the primary display panel or the information panel. The FDA also stipulates that the type size for ingredients listings be at least 1/16 inch in height based on the lower case “o,” as well as prominent, conspicuous, and easy to read.

Applicable warnings

What are they? – Cannabis products are generally required to include different visible warnings for consumers. The exact warnings vary by state, but can include the following.

  • Habit forming
  • Impaired abilities
  • Age restrictions
  • Health risks
  • Resale and transfer restrictions
  • Medical use only
  • Not for children
  • Schedule I controlled substance

Where should they go? – The exact placement and type requirements can vary, so check your local laws for specifics.

Manufacturer information

What is it? – The name and contact information of the manufacturer of the product.

Where should it go? – The information panel or any supplemental label.

Amount, strain, and batch or lot number

What are they? – Information detailing how much cannabis is in the product, what strain was used, and the batch or lot number used for testing and tracking cannabis.

Where should they go? – This information should typically be included on the informational label and not on any other form of supplementary label, depending on the state.

Applicable dates

What are they? – The various dates associated with cultivation, manufacturing, sell by, and expiration/best.

Where should they go? – Dates can go on any part of the label not preoccupied with other elements.

“Cannabis infused” statement

What is it? – A description attached to labels for edible products.

Where should it go? – On the primary panel for any products meant to be ingested.

An e-liquid product with an attractive cannabis package design.

Are There Restrictions to Cannabis Package Designs?

In addition to all the various required and optional label elements, cannabis product packaging has to abide by some other rules. The exact rules vary by state, but the following requirements are common for cannabis packaging.

  • Child-resistant packaging – Containers must be difficult for children to open (exact age can vary).
  • Tamper-evident seals – It should be clearly visible if package has been opened prior to sale.
  • Resealing – Packaging with more than one serving should be able to reseal after use.
  • Opaque packaging – Any edible cannabis products must be in an opaque package that doesn’t allow consumers to see the contained product.

There are also special design restrictions that impact the look of your label and overall package. The FDA and other organizations don’t want certain types of businesses marketing products to children. For example, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent letters to e-juice and e-cigarette companies back in 2018 warning them against using packaging that “cause[s] [products] to resemble kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies, some of them with cartoon-like imagery.”

Those same rules apply to cannabis products, although “marketing to children” is unfortunately vague and subjective at times. To start, cannabis labels and containers should resemble any commercially available snack, drinks, or other products – the word “candy” and other versions of that word are completely disallowed. Cannabis packaging also shouldn’t include any cartoons or other imagery that typically appeal to children.

Dress Your Cannabis Products for Success

Between branding and cannabis labeling requirements, investing in quality packaging is both complicated and essential. That’s why Blue Label Packaging Co. strives to simplify your search for the perfect labels.

Compliance requirements don’t mean you need to limit your design possibilities. Our experts work directly with you to identify the perfect materials, decorations, and other opportunities to enhance your designs and showcase your brand. Contact us today to invest in the perfect labels for you cannabis products.