S10 Blog

Cannabis Packaging Requirements: Colorado

Published Date:
February 20, 2023

Colorado, one of the first states in the United States to legalize cannabis, has stringent regulations on the packaging of cannabis and cannabis products. The packaging requirements are designed to ensure that the products are sold safely and to prevent accidental ingestion, particularly by children.

Compliance with these regulations is crucial for cannabis businesses in Colorado to operate legally and safely and to maintain consumer confidence in the quality and safety of their products.

Cannabis Legalization

cannabis in colorado

Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis was legalized in Colorado on November 7, 2000, with the passage of Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution. This amendment allows individuals with certain medical conditions to use cannabis for medical purposes, with a recommendation from a licensed physician. The amendment also allowed for the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, with no more than three being mature, and the possession of up to two ounces of usable cannabis. Since then, Colorado has expanded its cannabis laws to include legalizing recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21 in 2012.

Recreational Cannabis

Recreational cannabis was approved in Colorado on November 6, 2012, when Colorado voters passed Amendment 64. This amendment legalized the use and possession of recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and over. It also allowed for the cultivation of up to six plants, with no more than three being mature, and the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. The state began regulating and licensing recreational cannabis dispensaries in 2014, and Colorado became the first state in the United States to allow the sale of recreational cannabis to adults.

Packaging Requirements

custom cannabis packaging

In Colorado, there are specific packaging requirements for cannabis and cannabis products to ensure safety and prevent accidental ingestion, especially by children. The following are some of the packaging requirements for cannabis and cannabis products in Colorado:

  • Child-resistant packaging: All cannabis and cannabis products must be packaged in child-resistant packaging, which must be difficult for children under five years of age to open.
  • Tamper-evident packaging: The packaging must be designed in such a way that it shows evidence of tampering if someone tries to open or alter it.
  • Labeling: The packaging must be labeled with specific information, such as the type of product, potency, serving size, and any warnings or instructions for use. Labels must also include a list of ingredients, the date of manufacture and expiration, and a unique identification number.
  • Branded packaging: The packaging must be branded with the name of the product and the name of the licensee that produced the product.
  • Non-transparent packaging: The packaging must not be transparent or see-through so that the contents cannot be seen from the outside.
  • Exit packaging: Cannabis products sold at dispensaries must be placed in exit packaging before leaving the store. The exit packaging must be opaque, child-resistant, and tamper-evident.

These packaging requirements are strictly enforced by the state to ensure that cannabis and cannabis products are sold safely and responsibly in Colorado.

Changes to Packaging Requirements

cannabis packaging in colorado

Since the legalization of cannabis in the state, Colorado has updated and changed some of its cannabis packaging requirements. While the requirements above are the current official requirements for cannabis packaging, here are some of the changes the requirements have gone through:

  • Universal Symbol: Effective January 1, 2020, all cannabis products in Colorado must include a new, standardized symbol on their packaging. The symbol is a diamond shape with the letters "THC" inside, and it must be printed in red, with a white background.
  • Single-Serving Packaging: Effective July 1, 2019, all edible cannabis products sold in Colorado must be divided into single-serving sizes of no more than 10 milligrams of THC, and each serving must be individually wrapped or marked with a score or a perforation to indicate a single serving.
  • Labeling Requirements: In 2018, Colorado updated its labeling requirements to include additional information on product labels. All cannabis products must now include information on the date of harvest, the name of the strain, the type of concentrate, and the extraction method used to create the concentrate.
  • Exit Packaging: Effective January 1, 2020, all cannabis products sold at dispensaries must be placed in opaque, child-resistant exit packaging before leaving the store. This exit packaging must be designed to be easy to open for adults but difficult for children.
  • Redesignation of medical cannabis to recreational use: Effective January 1, 2023, a medical cannabis cultivation facility will be able to transfer medical cannabis to an adult-use cannabis cultivation facility in order to 

These changes were made to improve safety and reduce the risk of accidental ingestion, especially by children. Cannabis businesses in Colorado are required to comply with these regulations to ensure that their products are sold safely and responsibly.

Most Recent Updates

In December of 2022, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division adopted a new regulation to have ‘Use-by’ labels and proper storage conditions on all cannabis product packaging. While edibles and other consumable products already require use-by-date labeling, the new rules will extend to inhalables, such as flower and pre-rolls, as well. 

The new regulations will be implemented on January 1, 2024. Once they take effect, licensed cannabis dispensaries will still be permitted to sell products after the use-by date only if the staff informs the patient or consumer that they are purchasing a product after its use-by date.

Only the future will tell how this new regulation will affect the sales of cannabis flower and other flower-containing products. In the meantime, check out S10 Labs for customized packaging that is always state specific compliant.

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