S10 Blog

Cannabis Labeling and Packaging in Illinois Unwrapped

Published Date:
March 28, 2023

Cannabis legislation and packaging in Illinois have come a long way since the early 1900s. In the early 1900s, cannabis was criminalized in Illinois and the rest of the United States, leading to a prohibition era that lasted for decades. However, over the past few years, Illinois has seen a significant shift in its cannabis laws and regulations. In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use, allowing adults aged 21 and over to legally possess and purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. 

With this shift in legislation, the state has implemented strict packaging and labeling regulations to ensure the safety of cannabis products and to prevent any illegal sales or use of cannabis. This article will provide an overview of the current packaging and labeling regulations for cannabis products in Illinois and the importance of working with a trusted manufacturer to ensure compliance.

Cannabis Legalization in Illinois

is weed legal in illinois?

Medical Cannabis 

Medical cannabis was legalized in Illinois in 2013 with the passage of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The program allows individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions to obtain a registry identification card from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which permits them to purchase and use medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

Qualifying medical conditions include but are not limited to cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and severe fibromyalgia. Patients must have a recommendation from a physician who is registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health in order to be eligible for the program.

Recreational Cannabis

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Illinois on May 31, 2019, with the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.The act would be fully implemented on January 1, 2020.The act permits individuals who are 21 years of age or older to possess and consume cannabis for recreational purposes in the state of Illinois.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act also established a system for regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis products. Licensed dispensaries were permitted to begin selling recreational cannabis products in Illinois on January 1, 2020.

However, it's important to note that there are still restrictions in place regarding where individuals can consume cannabis. Smoking or using cannabis in public places is still prohibited, and landlords have the right to prohibit tenants from smoking or using cannabis on their property. Additionally, driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and can result in serious legal consequences.

Who Controls Cannabis Regulations in the State?

cannabis in illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is responsible for regulating and overseeing the packaging and labeling of cannabis products in the state of Illinois. The department is responsible for ensuring that all cannabis products are properly labeled, packaged, and marketed in accordance with state regulations and guidelines.

To do this, the IDOA has established rules and guidelines for cannabis businesses to follow when packaging and labeling their products. These rules cover everything from the types of materials that can be used for packaging to the required warnings and disclaimers that must be included on the label.

Cannabis businesses must register with the IDOA and submit their product labels and packaging for approval before they can be sold in the state. The department reviews each product label and package design to ensure that it complies with state regulations and is safe for consumers. The IDOA also conducts inspections of licensed cannabis businesses to ensure that they are in compliance with packaging and labeling requirements. Businesses found to be in violation of these regulations may face penalties, fines, or other enforcement actions.

Overall, the IDOA plays an important role in ensuring that cannabis products are properly labeled and packaged in Illinois. This helps to protect consumers and promote safe and responsible use of cannabis products in the state.

Packaging and Labeling Requirements

cannabis  packaging in illinois

Cannabis packaging and labeling in Illinois is very similar for both medical and recreational cannabis, however, there are a few differences between the two categories. To cover the requirements properly we will cover general regulations along with specific regulations for each categorization of cannabis.

General Requirements

All cannabis products, whether for recreational or medicinal use, must be registered with the department and include the required registration fee as outlined in Section 1000.140 of the Illinois Administrative Code. This fee covers the product's name and all available package sizes.

All harvested cannabis that is intended for distribution must be packaged in containers that are both sealed and labeled. These containers must be child-resistant and light-resistant and must meet the current standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Poison Prevention Act.

The packaging and labeling of cannabis products must not contain any false or misleading information, promote excessive consumption, depict individuals under the age of 21 consuming the product, feature cannabis leaves, or include any images that may be attractive to minors, such as cartoons, toys, or animals. Additionally, the packaging cannot include seals, flags, crests, or other insignia that may mislead consumers into thinking that the product is endorsed or used by the State of Illinois or any of its representatives.

When labeling cannabis or cannabis-infused products, the labels must be affixed to the package and provide information in English. This information must include the name and P.O. box of the cultivation center, the common name of the product, and the registered name of the product as registered with the Department. The labels must also include a unique serial number that matches the producer batch, the date of final testing/packaging, the manufacture "use by" date, the quantity of product in ounces or grams, and the pass/fail rating if sampled. For medicinal or recreational use, the content list on the labels must include the percentages of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, and any other ingredients, excluding cannabis. The printed percentages for any of these ingredients must not be below 85% or above 115% of the labeled amount.

Medical Cannabis 

For medicinal cannabis, the label must include the statement "Product is for medical use and not for resale or transfer to another person" to indicate that it is only intended for registered and diagnosed patients.

All cannabis-infused products must be individually wrapped and packaged at the original point of preparation. Medical infused products must comply with the label requirements of the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, in addition to the following requirements. Labels must list all ingredients, including colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives, in descending order under common names. Allergen label requirements as outlined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act must also be included, along with the phrase "This product was produced in a medical cannabis center not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens." The label must also include a clear and legible warning that the product is a medical cannabis-infused product and not a common food. The total milligram content of THC and CBD must be listed, even if the cannabis-infused product is individually wrapped or has multiple servings, and the total active THC may not exceed 100 milligrams. Altering or destroying attached labels is a violation.

Recreational Cannabis 

The requirements for recreational cannabis are similar to those for medical cannabis, with the exception that packaging must also be smell-proof and products can contain up to a total of 100mg of THC if separated into single servings of 10mg or less. Additionally, for recreational cannabis, directions in Spanish must be provided to access product label information.

For cannabis products produced by concentrating or extracting ingredients, the type of extraction method, including solvents or gasses used during the extraction process, must be listed. All other chemicals or compounds used or added must also be listed.

Labels must include several warnings, including the statement "This product contains cannabis and is intended for use by adults 21 and over. Its use can impair cognition and may be habit-forming. This product should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is unlawful to sell or provide this item to any individual, and it may not be transported outside the State of Illinois. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. Possession or use of this product may carry significant legal penalties in some jurisdictions and under federal law."

For cannabis that may be smoked, the label must contain a statement that "Smoking is hazardous to your health." For cannabis-infused products (other than those intended for topical application), the label must include the statement "CAUTION: This product contains cannabis, and intoxication following use may be delayed 2 or more hours. This product was produced in a facility that cultivates cannabis, and that may also process common food allergens." Cannabis-infused products intended for topical application must include the statement "DO NOT EAT" in bold, capital letters.

Guaranteed Compliant Packaging

In conclusion, compliance with Illinois' cannabis packaging and labeling regulations is crucial for any cannabis operator to ensure that their products are legal and safe for consumers. Working with a trusted manufacturer that understands the requirements and standards set forth by the state is key to ensuring that your packaging meets all of the necessary regulations. 

By partnering with a reputable manufacturer, you can rest assured that your products will be packaged and labeled properly, avoiding any potential legal issues and ensuring that your brand maintains a positive reputation within the cannabis industry. Don't take shortcuts when it comes to packaging and labeling your products - work with a trusted manufacturer to ensure compliance with all state regulations.

Operators looking for trusted packaging solutions can reach out to the team at S10 Labs. The team is here to answer all packaging questions and help create high quality packaging for your brand.

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