What does the CA child-resistant bag legislation mean for the cannabis industry?

Cannabis buds on jars - dispensary pattern

When it comes to the new Californian legislation regarding cannabis sale, much dust has arisen around the subject. Confusion and misunderstandings have started to rule the cannabis industry, seemingly without anyone to clarify the problematic and purge the panic once and for all.  Child-resistant packaging is at the center of this controversy.

With legalization knocking at our door here in The Golden State, dispensaries and smokers alike are preparing for the big date. The 1st of January, 2018 will signify a new era in the cannabis legalization revolution.

It’s a movement that lies in the hands and souls of people who have wholeheartedly committed themselves to the cause. However, despite the initial happiness, a certain legal matter has been overlooked.

We’re talking about the brand-new legislation that concerns child-resistant exit bags. Although this affects the way cannabis salesmen are seen in the eyes of children, it’s a little bit deeper than that. Every facet of the cannabis industry is affected – from growers all the way to the dispensary clerks. Let’s take a look at how this will affect the way Cali takes their puffs and hits from the bong.

The nitty-gritty

In the business and professions code, within the cannabis division, a new chapter was added to the mix. Chapter 12 concerns the packaging and labeling processes and rules and much of it has to do with child-resistant bags and packnaaging. The legal terms are abundant here and many growers and smokers have expressed their concern about this.

In all words, the overabundance of information can present a burden to any reader. By starting to analyze the chapter, it’s evident that all packaging will undergo a big change, never seen before in the cannabis industry. Before we head on to the bag type, the frontrunner in this new chapter is the so-called “bag attractiveness”.

Basically, this means that bag should not be made to appeal to children. Cannabis will be equipped with simple packaging. This means no big colorful letters, signs or any sort of thing that might catch the attention of the juvenile eye. The bag will all look the same, with no distinction.

We presume that this is the DEA’s attempt to curb underage smoking or prove their point that smokers won’t be on the rise. Regardless of the goal, these are the rules.

As we head to the child-resistant bag part, there is one catch. According to section 5029, cannabis goods and products don’t have to be in child-resistant packaging while in the inventory. Thus, it can be said that storage is safe from these regulations. In legal terms, child-resistant bags are mandatory the moment the product is exposed for sale and ready for further promotion.

What does this even mean?

Okay, we’ve concluded that the existence of changes is pretty much inevitable. As this legislation is bound to be in force at the beginning of the year, this bears the question about the significance and impact of it. We’re going to analyze the changes every chain in the cannabis industry will experience – growers, manufacturers, dispensaries, and smokers.

Growers will most likely be inclined to provide more information about their products, as to what is the exact strain and some technical info about the growing equipment. It’s likely that every tamper-evident, child-resistant bag will have to have some additional info.

Manufacturers will have to be extra careful when it comes to the packaging and sending process. They should make not even the slightest mistake when it comes to packaging the cannabis.

Every good possible (flowers, edibles, seeds) should be in a neutral package. No big letters, just the disclaimers, and the specifications. Also, manufacturers will likely suffer the most as child-resistant bags are expensive. This will mean that a rise in prices is imminent.

Dispensaries will also face the same type of problems as manufacturers do. They might see less business than expected, due to the cost rise in ordering marijuana packaged in tamper-evident bags.

Prices will jump and they will face a little bit more stress when it comes to cost management and other technical aspects of doing business. Marketing will also take a big hit, as trademark bags and attractiveness are now out of the question.

Smokers will feel the change in their wallets mostly. Weed will be more expensive due to the bag type. Expect some mix-ups as well, because all the bags will now basically look the same. This also means that the DEA is likely to bust anyone that isn’t following such rules. If they find an unregulated bag on a smoker, he is likely to be in trouble too.

What are the possible consequences of not respecting this legislation?

Like with every state that is new in the legal recreational cannabis circle, the control and monitoring will be tough. The Californian market has been the wet dream of growers all over the world and licenses and permits will be flying all over the place.

A bigger influx of people means a stricter control. No mistakes will be tolerated and everyone will feel the wrath of Uncle Sam if they don’t employ the notion of child-resistant packaging.

The most likely consequence will be a hefty fine, most likely only for first-time offenders. More serious mess-ups and disrespect of the law will result in permit seizure and extensive legal action with no good end in sight. Whether you’re a grower, seller or smoker keep your eyes open.

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