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Legalization Status

Marijuana (2)

Decriminalized since 1975

Medical Marijuana (1)

Medical since 1996

Coffee Shop (1)

Recreational since 2018

California Governing Body Information

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2018 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update

 

The Golden State has long been a forerunner in cannabis legalization, trying as early as the 1970s to decriminalize marijuana. In 1975, they succeeded in partially decriminalizing cannabis by making possession of under an ounce a civil offense instead of criminal, subject to a small fine. Later acts and propositions voted in by Californians and signed into law by governors further softened the punishments for possession of cannabis, including requiring drug treatment for multiple possession offenses.

Again, California was a leader in cannabis legalization in 1996 by being the very first state to allow patients with certain state-approved illnesses to possess and privately use marijuana to relieve symptoms that cannabis had been proven to help. Proposition 215 legalized medical cannabis, but it didn’t lay out a sufficient plan for a full medical cannabis program. Over the next few years, more laws were enacted until the creation of California’s Medical Marijuana Program. Since the Golden State was a leader in medical cannabis, many states have used their program as a template for their own.

During the 2016 national elections, California voted, along with other states, to allow adults to possess, purchase, and privately smoke small amounts of cannabis. Unlicensed sale, cultivation, transportation, and possession of live plants are still illegal. Because it is such a large state, California has three different government agencies responsible for sale and production of cannabis.

2017 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update

 

California has long been a leader in medical marijuana laws, and their packaging laws are no exception. They’ve gone through several versions of medical cannabis and finally settled on laws that allow medical marijuana products to be sold both recreationally and for medical reasons. The Golden State doesn’t have too strict laws when it comes to packaging, as they only require that cannabis packaging be “tamper evident.” They don’t specify locks or childproofing, so this is good news for CA cannabis businesses. Tamper evident packaging is easy to get as well with either heat sealed mylar bags or pop top bottles with shrink plastic bands.

While their actual package laws aren’t so detailed, California requires a lot of specific labeling on medical cannabis products. Not only do companies need to be very careful not to make labeling or packaging attractive to children, but they have to clearly state that there’s a controlled substance inside. Labels also must have text that’s similar to that on prescription medications that warn the consumer about the effects. Medical cannabis labels must also list the amount of not just THC but other cannabinoids in milligrams, including the amounts in a serving size and the whole package.

For specific wording, keep reading. This excerpt was taken from California’s Assembly Bill 266:

(a) Prior to delivery or sale at a dispensary, medical cannabis products shall be labeled and in a tamper-evident package. Labels and packages of medical cannabis products shall meet the following requirements:

(1) Medical cannabis packages and labels shall not be made to be attractive to children.

(2) All medical cannabis product labels shall include the following information, prominently displayed and in a clear and legible font:

(A) Manufacture date and source.

(B) The statement “SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE.”

(C) The statement “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS” in bold print.

(D) The statement “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY.”

(E) The statement “THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE DELAYED BY UP TO TWO HOURS.”

(F) The statement “THIS PRODUCT MAY IMPAIR THE ABILITY TO DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.”

(G) For packages containing only dried flower, the net weight of medical cannabis in the package.

(H) A warning if nuts or other known allergens are used.

(I) List of pharmacologically active ingredients, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoid content, the THC and other cannabinoid amounts in milligrams per serving, servings per package, and the THC and other cannabinoid amounts in milligrams for the package total.

(J) Clear indication, in bold type, that the product contains medical cannabis.

(K) Identification of the source and date of cultivation and manufacture.

(L) Any other requirement set by the bureau.

(M) Information associated with the unique identifier issued by the Department of Food and Agriculture pursuant to Section 11362.777 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) Only generic food names may be used to describe edible medical cannabis products.

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