Washington state has updated its requirements for how marijuana and marijuana products must be packaged and labeled. The changes came after consulting with a number of different groups. This included several state agencies as well as a consumer survey. So how will Washington packaging and labeling laws change things? Here are the most important highlights.
Some of the rules reflect laws that were already in place. Others reflect new changes. But either way, this list highlights the most current Washington packaging and labeling laws.
Dispensaries are one of the key areas these new rules will affect. For starters, all cannabis and cannabis products must be stored behind a counter. Alternatively, some other barrier could work, too. The only requirement is that there’s something keeping customers from having direct access to the product.
Additionally, dispensaries must provide customers with a bunch of materials and information at the point of purchase. These materials can be attached to the product, or they can be given to the customer separately. These materials are basically a collection of required consumer warnings that have been pre-written by the Washington State Legislature and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).
Finally, dispensaries must also have lab test results on hand for each product they sell. When a customer asks to see lab information, dispensaries are required to give it to them.
Mandatory Packaging Rules
Marijuana and marijuana products in Washington must meet a number of packaging requirements. This includes the use of childproof packaging. Similarly, all cannabis products must be sealed in packaging that protects the product from any sort of contamination.
Edibles and drinkables have their own slightly unique set of requirements. Any sort of weed-infused product meant for eating or drinking must be sealed in plastic that’s at least four millimeters thick. They must also be as childproof as possible. That means no easy-open tabs.
If a package of edibles has more than one serving, each serving must be sealed individually. Then the entire thing must be sealed in a childproof external package.
For cannabis-infused drinks that have more than one serving in a bottle, it must include a measuring device. Further, it must also have a resealable lid.
Finally, the state is giving a bit of leniency to products like lozenges, capsules, and other similar items. Unlike edibles, these can receive approval to be packaged loosely inside a resealable, childproof outer package.
Mandatory Labeling Rules
There are a bunch of labeling rules in Washington. For the most part, the key law is that each product must have a label on it that contains a ton of required information. The state has laid out a bunch of pre-written consumer warnings that must be printed clearly on the label.
Besides that, labels have to include information like:
- name and license number of business that produced the product,
- traceable inventory ID number,
- list of all pesticides used,
- date of harvest,
- best by date,
- serving size and number of servings in the package,
- list of all other chemicals or ingredients in the product,
- if it’s an extract or concentrate, labels must include a list of all solvents and other chemicals used in the process.
Finally, all marijuana products will have to use a new label created by the WSLCB that depicts a new cannabis warning symbol. And for topicals, there must be a label that clearly states “do not eat.”
Most of the rules are for what has to be on labels. But there are also rules for what cannot be on a label. This includes:
- false or misleading information,
- claims that a product has curative or therapeutic effects,
- images or language that encourages overconsumption,
- images that suggest use by or presence of minors,
- anything that is deemed to be “especially appealing to children or other persons of twenty-one years of age.”
Permitted Optional Labeling
If marijuana producers and dispensaries have any room left for additional labeling, the state has spelled out what they can and cannot include.
For starters, a product can only be labeled “organic” if it meets current standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Organic Foods Production Act.
Additionally, under certain circumstances, labels can list other cannabinoids and terpenes present in a product. But in order to list this, the producer must include certified lab test results. Further, dispensaries must provide these results if a customer asks for them.
Cannabis companies can begin updating their labels and packaging whenever they want to. But the Washington Legislature said that all new rules will go into full effect on January 1, 2019. By that time, everything must follow the new rules. That means that by next year, growers, producers, and retailers must comply with all new Washington packaging and labeling laws.