Security & Safety

California’s Cannabis Product Packaging Rules: Are you compliant?

Bethan Jenkins
Written by Bethan Jenkins

As of 2018, recreational cannabis is being sold in most of The Golden State. The rise in legalization creates increased demand for California cannabis packaging compliance. ‘Ganjapreneurs’ residing in California must adhere to specific laws and regulations if they are to operate legally in the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The deadline for being fully compliant with the regulations was July 1st, 2018. So, ask yourself, are you 100 percent compliant?

Since the cannabis plant has been forbidden by law for such a long time, it’s understandable that entrepreneurs with a cannabis operation must be 100% compliant.

The following governing bodies must be considered to reach federal compliance:

  • IRS
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Labor
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Consumer Protection Act

In accordance with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulations (BMCR), the following six regulatory agencies must be considered to reach state-level compliance:

  • California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • California State Department of Public Health
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • State Water Resources Control Board
  • California Medical Board

The following regulations must be dealt with by medical cannabis businesses in California under the MCRSA rules (of which are subjected to a 45-day public comment period):

  • Quality assurance testing
  • Seed-to-sale tracking
  • Lab testing
  • Packaging and labeling requirements
  • Environmental restrictions
  • Plant limitations
  • Ownership restrictions

California’s Cannabis Packaging Rules: AUMA and MCRSA

Regulatory inquiry is anticipated to be on the same level for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA, aka Prop 64). Passed in 2016, AUMA differs in various aspects, such as residency requirements, timelines and vertical integration restrictions.

The same applies for MCRSA.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Budget Trailer Bill will combine the AUMA and MCRSA to ensure public and consumer safety is paramount.

Licenses for medical and recreational cannabis businesses in California will be issued from January 1, 2018. Despite this, the specifics of the AUMA remain vague until Governor Brown’s technical fix bill is passed this summer.

Tips for Being Compliant with California’s Cannabis Packaging Rules

Controlled at the state level and enforced at a local level, licensing will grant local agencies the power to impose restrictions and/or bans if they feel it is necessary.

Maintain compliance by taking federal and state regulations into account, as well as city and county ordinances, rules and requirements.

Remember that zoning laws may change. Stay up-to-date by researching the regulatory and financial compliance requirements for your specific license type.

Make an effort to befriend local regulators and don’t forget to hunt for local banking if you want to maximize your chances of securing a license.

Auditing your financials will also help to ensure compliance, as will maintaining a professional demeanor. After all, you are representing the cannabis community on a monumental scale and so… compliance is key!


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Bethan Jenkins

Bethan Jenkins

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