Maryland State Governing Body Information
2018 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update
While the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal, the possession of 10 grams or less has been decriminalized since 2014. The road to marijuana legalization started in the early 2010s but the first attempts were unsuccessful. This doesn’t mean that residents of the Old Line State weren’t in support of legalizing cannabis for adult use. In 2014, 54% of residents in Maryland supported legalization; in 2016, 61% of state residents supported legalization of marijuana.
In May 2013, Maryland’s governor signed a bill for a medical marijuana program so that patients could get cannabis plants, leaves, and flowers for medical needs. The law regulated cannabis to medical centers where patients can be monitored, and the bill also placed a cap on dispensary licenses to 2 per Maryland Senate district. The Old Line State struggled to handle the flood of applications to cultivate, dispense, and use medical cannabis. After five years, the program finally became operational with 14 growers, 12 processors, and 9 dispensaries. Maryland also has one of the most liberal policies on prescribing cannabis, with all kinds of medical professionals from podiatrists to nurse midwives being allowed to recommend cannabis. However, edible forms of cannabis are not allowed under the bill.
In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly decriminalized the possession of marijuana paraphernalia and smoking in public, making these offenses a civil infraction instead of a criminal charge, subject to a fine. In May of the following year, Maryland lawmakers tried to pass a bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use similar to other states, but it did not get the required amount of votes to pass.
2017 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is the governing body that makes all the rules about selling cannabis products in the state. They have developed very specific guidelines for packaging cannabis products, and require that all packages are opaque, tamper-evident, and child-resistant. Marketing, labeling, and packaging must not be attractive to children or make it look like the state or government is endorsing the product. The labels must also contain a lot of information, from an expiration date to warnings about adults using the products. These regulations also require Maryland cannabis businesses to label their products with all ingredients and the dosages of both cannabinoids and terpenes, the other chemicals in cannabis that influence effects and flavor.
“.01 Packaging of Medical Cannabis Finished Product.
All items shall be individually packaged at the original point of processing.
Packaging Requirements. A package of medical cannabis finished product shall:
(1) Be plain;
(2) Be opaque;
(3) Be tamper-evident, and if applicable or appropriate, child-resistant;
(4) Bear a finished-product lot number and an expiration date;
(5) Bear a clear warning that:
(a) The contents may be lawfully consumed only by a qualifying patient named on an attached label;
(b) It is illegal for any person to possess or consume the contents of the package other than the qualifying patient; and
(c) It is illegal to transfer the package or contents to any person other than a transfer by a caregiver to a qualifying patient;
(6) Bear a clear warning to keep the package and its contents away from children other than a qualifying patient;
(7) Bear the Maryland Poison Control Center emergency telephone number;
(8) Bear the name of the licensee that packaged the medical cannabis finished product and the telephone number of the licensee for reporting an adverse patient event;
(9) Bear any allergen warning required by law;
(10) Bear a listing of the non-medical cannabis ingredients;
(11) Bear an itemization, including weight, of all cannabinoid and terpene ingredients specified for the product, and concentrates of any cannabinoid of less than one percent shall be printed with a leading zero before the decimal point; and
(12) Leave space for a licensed dispensary to attach a personalized label for the qualifying patient.
Packaging Prohibitions. A package of medical cannabis finished product may not bear any:
(1) Resemblance to the trademarked, characteristic or product-specialized packaging of any commercially available candy, snack, baked good or beverage;
(2) Statement, artwork or design that could reasonably mislead any person to believe that the package contains anything other a medical cannabis finished product;
(3) Seal, flag, crest, coat of arms, or other insignias that could reasonably mislead any person to believe that the product has been endorsed, manufactured, or used by any State, county or municipality or any agency thereof; and
(4) Cartoon, color scheme, image, graphic or feature that might make the package attractive to children.
Label for Distribution to a Qualifying Patient.
A licensee shall print a label for a package of medical cannabis for a qualifying patient in English in letters no less than one-sixteenth of an inch high. If requested by a qualifying patient or caregiver, the licensee may also print a label in another language.
A licensee may not distribute a package of medical cannabis without a label securely attached.
A licensee shall state on a label of a package of medical cannabis:
(1) The name of the qualifying patient;
(2) The name of the certifying physician;
(3) The name of the licensee where the product was dispensed;
(4) The date that the medical cannabis was dispensed;
(5) The name of the product;
(6) The strength of applicable cannabinoid and terpene compounds:
(a) Displayed in units appropriate to the dosage form; and
(b) Concentrations of any cannabinoid of less than one percent shall be printed with a leading zero before the decimal point;
(7) The quantity of medical cannabis dispensed, displayed in units appropriate to the dosage form;
(8) Any directions for use of the product; and
(9) The instructions for proper storage or handling of the product.
Any other information required by the dispensary at its discretion may be provided in a patient insert.
The label may not:
(1) Contain any false or misleading statement or design; or
(2) Include any statement, image or design that may not be included in the package.”
All text is taken from the regulations on medical cannabis created by the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.