Important Considerations for Cannabis Labels

A good cannabis label helps you sell your products, whether you provide oils, edibles, or any other cannabis-related goods. However, you just can’t slap any old label to a container and expect it to work.

Both your customers and the law have expectations for your cannabis labels, so you’ll need to consider both legality and presentation before you send them out to the masses. Here are some considerations to think about.

Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Laws

The cannabis industry is heavily regulated, and that applies to all your packaging. Compliance is critical, so you need to make sure that any labels designed for cannabis products play by the rules so that you can legally sell them.

One big issue for cannabis label designers is that location is going to dictate a lot of what you can do with your labels. While each state may have different specifications for certain label needs, it’s good to know what to expect when you’re planning your labels.

Image of marijuana used with cannabis product labels.

What’s in it?

The contents of your container needs to be appropriately marked so that everyone knows exactly what’s inside. This means that you need to focus on identity, responsibility, and quantity for cannabis labels.

Identity is fairly straightforward and refers to the inclusion of the most common name for the item in your container. While this is something you were likely going to add anyway, you do need to exercise some caution. Cannabis products shouldn’t be labeled to appeal to children, so certain names that are based on popular foods can be struck down depending on how strict the laws are in your area.

Like with many products with or without marijuana, a responsibility statement is necessary. This is a section on your label that lists your full business name and address so that people know which company distributes the product.

Cannabis quantity statements require a few key items for compliance. This is where you’ll need to give specific, easy-to-read details about your product, such as product information and other key elements. Information regarding the strain, for example, such as the name of strain and batch and the strength of strain, may be required to include on your cannabis strain label. In addition, your label may need to include:

  • Weight
  • Chemical info (total THC, CBD, etc.)
  • Unique serial number
  • Specific dates (cultivation, testing, expiration, etc.)


Once you figure out everything you need to list to present what’s inside your container, you still need to display a few clearly-legible warnings. What’s needed and how it must be presented can differ depending on the state, but the following is a pretty good list of warnings that you should consider:

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

Opaque container and label

If you wanted a cool, see-through label and package, you’re out of luck. Cannabis products require opaque containers, so you’ll have to make sure that customers can’t see through your packaging before trying to take it to market.


A major concern for many states is that children can’t get to cannabis products. Not only does this mean not using any imagery or language that could catch a kid’s interest, it also means ensuring that products come with child-proof packaging.

The exact requirements can depend on the state. For example, Alaska calls for packaging that would be difficult for a 5-year old to open, but not for an adult. Other states focus more on labeling that highlights that a product should be kept out of reach of children. For more detail, check with your specific state laws.

Refer to your state laws for exact requirements

Another issue that you may face with cannabis labels and packaging is that state laws can change. This means that you and your designer will have to stay on top of these legal updates to make sure your business is always compliant.

Fortunately, cannabis resource site Leafly keeps a regularly-updated list of cannabis packaging and labeling laws so that you can find out what you need to know based on where you operate.

Image of cannabis product that needs cannabis packaging and digitally printed labels.

Presentation of Your Cannabis Labels

Once you’ve done everything you can to make sure that your cannabis labels are compliant, you still need to take some time and make sure that they look good.

Clear, concise messaging

All those compliance needs can turn your label into a mess if you’re not careful. Not only do you need to find a way to list every bit of required information and warning, they also must be clearly legible for approval. A good label designer can help you create an aesthetically-pleasing layout that keeps your product compliant while a digital printer can make sure that this messaging looks as good on the final product as it does on the original design.

Add some personality

Compliance is critical, but it shouldn’t force you to use boring labels. Yes, compliance concerns may limit some of your creativity, but a good designer and digital printing company can help you create cannabis labels that stand out from the competition. Even with the compliance restrictions, you still have a lot of flexibility when it comes to using your labels to tell a story.

Sharp colors or cool designs are some cannabis labeling trends that can add some distinction to your products without taking away from all the required information. You also can gain some style points through decorative printing processes. Hot foil stamping gives your labels a look of sophistication through eye-catching metal foil. Label embossing makes your products stick out, literally and figuratively, by pressing special designs that make your labels feel different as well as look great. If all you need is some extra label space, hang tags give you a whole new way to add real estate for promoting your products.

Adapt to change

Between potential legal changes and new products, you’ll want to keep flexibility in mind for your labels. A single change in the law can make all your extra labels obsolete, so you’ll want a design that can be easily adjusted when necessary. Since you have to deal with these changes and constantly update batch numbers and other details, you’ll also want to work with a digital printing company that can work with you when you need short runs of labels or have a small time frame.

A good digital printing partner is a perfect fit for this scenario. At Blue Label, we can quickly customize individual labels within grouping and product lines. If you need a change, we can deliver your labels within 3-5 business days of approval of your design. That way you can save money by using short run labels and have the flexibility necessary in your industry.

Find the Right Cannabis Label Partners

Quality cannabis labels can require quality designers and printing companies. If you’re looking for someone to help you with your design, check out our online directory of approved designers.

When it comes to finding a good digital label printer, Blue Label Packaging can help you balance quality and budget so that your cannabis products get the labels they need to succeed in the market. We work with both dispensaries and cannabis professionals in both recreational and commercial sales, as well as those who create CBD products. Contact us today if you need custom cannabis labels for your products.