By Megan Fisher
In November 2016, 57% of voters in the state of California said “Yes” to Prop 64, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for persons 21 or older and establishing certain sales and cultivation taxes. Dispensaries didn’t just start selling cannabis recreationally the day after the election; Prop 64 stated that recreational sales couldn’t begin until January 1st, 2018. While January 2018 may seem far off, there’s plenty to do—dispensaries and cannabis companies alike are working hard to make sure they remain in compliance of all the new regulations that accompany Prop 64.
Edibles companies in particular have a long checklist to go through to ensure that their products are legal & able to be sold on shelves, beginning with their packaging:
Chapter 12. Packaging and Labeling
(a) Prior to delivery or sale at a retailer, marijuana and marijuana products shall be labeled and placed in a resealable, child resistant package.
(b) Packages and labels shall not be made to be attractive to children.
(c) All marijuana and marijuana product labels and inserts shall include the following information prominently displayed in a clear and legible fashion in accordance with the requirements, including font size, prescribed by the bureau or the Department of Public Health: not less than 8 point font: (1) Manufacture date and source. (2) The following statements, in bold print: (B) For marijuana products: “GOVERNMENT WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS MARIJUANA, A SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. MARIJUANA PRODUCTS MAY ONLY BE POSSESSED OR CONSUMED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT. THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA PRODUCTS MAY BE DELAYED UP TO TWO HOURS. MARIJUANA USE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARMFUL. CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA PRODUCTS IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE AND OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.”…..(6) List of pharmacologically active ingredients, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoid content, the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams per serving, servings per package, and the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams for the package total, and the potency of the marijuana or marijuana product by reference to the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in each serving. (7) For marijuana products, a list of all ingredients and disclosure of nutritional information in the same manner as the federal nutritional labeling requirements in 21 C.F.R. section 101.9. (8) A list of any solvents, nonorganic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that were used in the cultivation, production, and manufacture of such marijuana or marijuana product. (9) A warning if nuts or other known allergens are used.(10) Information associated with the unique identifier issued by the Department of Food and Agriculture. (11) Any other requirement set by the bureau or the Department of Public Health. (d) Only generic food names may be used to describe the ingredients in edible marijuana products.
Under Prop 64, all marijuana and marijuana products will be required to contain labels with these warnings & information, but the last portion that states “only generic food names may be used to describe ingredients in edible marijuana products” hints at the stringent standards edibles companies will be held to beginning in 2018. Chapter 13 Marijuana Products 26130 of Prop 64 further outlines these standards:
(a) Marijuana products shall be:
(1) Not designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain marijuana.
(2) Produced and sold with a standardized dosage of cannabinoids not to exceed ten (10) milligrams tetrahydrocannabinol per serving.
(3) Delineated or scored into standardized serving sizes if the marijuana product contains more than one serving and is an edible marijuana product in solid form.
(4) Homogenized to ensure uniform disbursement of cannabinoids throughout the product.
(5) Manufactured and sold under sanitation standards established by the Department of Public Health, in consultation with the bureau, for preparation, storage, handling and sale of food products.
(6) Provided to customers with sufficient information to enable the informed consumption of such product, including the potential effects of the marijuana product and directions as to how to consume the marijuana product, as necessary.
According to the Canna Law Blog, California will also not be allowing cannabis-infused alcohol, caffeine or nicotine products and cannabis products won’t be able to be made of “potentially hazardous food”. Potentially hazardous food is essentially any food “capable of supporting the growth of infectious of toxigenic microorganisms when held at temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit.” So if it has to be kept at under 41 degrees Fahrenheit or is a dairy or meat product, it’ll be a no-go once 2018 rolls around. (Say it ain’t so, infused ice cream!)
While these rules may seem like a lot, for the most part they’re being put in place to ensure that recreational cannabis consumers aren’t ingesting anything harmful and that children won’t eat an infused product by mistake—all things I can get behind. However, I do think there are elements that need to be revisited. The 100mg limit bothers me, because I worry that patients who are in legitimate pain & have been able to purchase 1000mg edibles will now be forced to spend more money to get the relief they need. That’s not right. It seems like this 100mg limit was likely decided upon by someone who doesn’t necessarily understand cannabis dosing as opposed to consulting with someone from the industry who could provide a better insight into what a reasonable milligram limit would be. Just like any transition, there are going to be growing pains and hopefully politicians and cannabis industry leaders can work together to navigate this new era of cannabis in California in a way that benefits consumers and the industry alike.
(1) FULL TEXT OF THE MEDICINaL AND ADULT-USE CANNABIS REGULATION AND SAFETY ACT (MAUCRSA)
(2) California Cannabis Manufacturing Rules
(3) Industry Bristles at California Regs on Potency, Closing Hours