Packaging in the Cannabis Market – Labels and Custom

Custom weed strain labels for cannabis packaging by Green Rush Packaging.

Packaging and labeling are some of the factors that keep your cannabis products competitive in the market. Attractive packaging draws more customers to your products. Weed labels provide users with the information they need to know about your products. 

It is a requirement by law to label your products using high-quality cannabis labels, providing your brand with an added advantage. Labels are required on medical and recreational marijuana, edibles, brownies, gummies, etc. Government laws and regulations governing the growing, transporting, processing, storage, and use of cannabis are very strict. Laws around cannabis are state specific and should be researched accordingly.


Classification of cannabis products

Cannabis products bought by users are classified into several classes by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC)


Non-manufactured products: These are products containing cannabis plant/plant material only. They include packaged products such as:

  • Flower
  • Plant material pre-rolls
  • Seeds
  • Premature plants supplied by retailers


Manufactured products: These are products that contain extracted or non-extracted cannabis ingredients. They include:

  • Edibles: Products consumed by mouth. They look like traditional beverages/foods. Examples are baked goods, candies, sweets, mints, drinks, and drink additives. 
  • Concentrates: Products made from extracted cannabis. Examples are vape cartridges, tinctures, dabs, shatter, wax, tablets, and pills. 


Topical products: These are products rubbed on the skin. They are products such as balms, lotions, patches, and creams. 


Requirements for cannabis products packaging and labeling

Each state has its unique requirements for packaging and labeling cannabis products. Nevertheless, some universal laws and guidelines apply in each state. 



The universal packaging laws applied in all states include:

  • Packaging for edible cannabis products must be opaque
  • Products that contain more than one serving must be resealable
  • All products must have child-resistant seals
  • All products must be tamper evident



Cannabis labels are divided into two:

  • The primary panel comprises that part that consumers will readily see when the product is on display.
  • The international panel comprises the rest of the label. 

All cannabis labels must contain the universal weed symbol to warn people that the packaging contains cannabis products. The symbol must be a minimum of ½’’ x ½’’ and should never be changed. 


What not to include in a cannabis label

The information on a weed label is crucial to the user to help them make a purchase decision. It must never be false or misleading. Do not include:

  • Name of a county unless the plants were specifically grown there
  • Add images such as cartoons, candy, and other images that can attract children
  • Add health information that has no prove
  • Add the word organic or OCal if the product is not registered with DFA or CDPH. 
  • Add a photo of the product if it is an edible
  • Market the product as an alcoholic drink


Regulations for packaging cannabis products across the US states

It takes many years of lobbying and court battles for a single state to legalize cannabis. After the victory, other challenges ensue. They include regulations for packaging, storage, displaying, growing, consuming, and processing. States such as Massachusetts, Alaska, and California have very strict guidelines.

States such as New Jersey, Arizona, Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maine have relaxed rules. In the other states where cannabis for medicinal, recreational use, or both are legal, most guidelines are the same. 


What packaging guidelines are universal across the states?

The universal packaging guidelines across the states include:

  • Guidelines for child-resistant packaging
  • Keeping packaging opaque
  • Having the product labeled to show “medical use only” if the product is for medicinal purposes 


Packaging quantities

Some states are very strict on product quantities contained in each package. The strictest states are Vermont, Alaska, Maine, California, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia. Some states require the packaging not to include cartoons or candy graphics that can attract children. 

Some states require the package to have a warning that shows the dangers of cigarette smoking. Other laws include allergen warnings, tamper proof, the printing of retailer’s license selling number, and sealing with a metal crown for cannabis-infused food products. 


Specific cannabis packaging laws by state

It is important to observe proper marijuana packaging, but it is also crucial to do it based on the law. It is good to note that laws are dynamic and keep changing after revisions by legislators and other stakeholders. Keeping up with up-to-date information is crucial. These laws include how to add custom cannabis labels and packaging. 

Retailers, processors, packaging, and custom cannabis label manufacturers need to understand the laws clearly. You can find and go through the detailed state-by-state guide to cannabis packaging and cannabis label laws to get you acquainted with them. There are resources that cover unique packaging and weed label laws published by 25 states. Most of them can be applied in other states.

Packaging guidelines are constantly being updated. It is best to keep up to date with local state and federal regulations concerning packaging with cannabis.


Examples of packaging and labeling laws in some states

Here are some examples of the laws published by some of the states.



Laws for retailers: All retailers must ensure that all cannabis or cannabis products displayed or stored meet these requirements:

  • The packaging is opaque
  • Resealable
  • Child-resistant for children under the age of five years

The products must meet custom cannabis labels requirements such as:

  • Show the name and license number of the retailer
  • Show the THC quantity
  • Show marijuana use warning signs (intoxicating, impairing concentration, judgment, and coordination, and other health risks)


In California, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure the finished product is labeled. It must be packaged in the final form before delivery to a distributor. All cannabis labels must be in English, and all printing must be clear. The weed labels must include the name of the product, net weight, THC, and CBD content. The font must not be below 6 points. 


Cannabis labels in Delaware must have the cannabis strain name, quantity, and batch number. It must read, “the product is for medicinal use and is not for resale.” Further information required on the custom cannabis labels is that medical cannabis is free from contaminants. It must also display the number of active ingredients contained in the product. These are minimum requirements, but each state has published more detailed guidelines. 


Disclaimer: Check the local guidelines and laws of your state to ensure compliance. 

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