Cannabis Packaging Requirements: Maine
As cannabis becomes increasingly legal across the United States, states are developing their own unique regulations for the packaging and labeling of cannabis products. In Maine, specific packaging and labeling requirements have been put in place for both medical and recreational cannabis products.
These requirements are designed to protect public health and ensure that consumers receive accurate information about the products they purchase, all while preventing access by children. Here we'll take a closer look at the cannabis product packaging requirements in Maine, and what consumers and businesses need to know to stay compliant with the law.
Cannabis Legalization in Maine
Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal in the state of Maine. Before we dive into the packaging requirements for these products, let's review the history of cannabis legalization in Maine.
Medical cannabis was legalized in Maine in 1999 when voters approved the Maine Medical Marijuana Act, also known as the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MMUMA). The law initially allowed patients with certain medical conditions to use cannabis with a doctor's recommendation, but it did not provide for legal distribution or dispensaries.
The law was amended in 2009 to establish a regulated dispensary system, which allowed patients to obtain medical cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. The law has been further amended several times since then to expand the list of qualifying medical conditions and to allow for more licensed dispensaries.
In 2021, the Maine Legislature passed a law to expand the medical cannabis program even further by allowing medical cannabis to be used to treat additional medical conditions, as well as allowing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify patients for the medical cannabis program.
Recreational cannabis was first legalized in Maine in 2016, when voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis through a ballot initiative. However, the implementation of the law was delayed due to political and regulatory challenges.
In 2018, the Maine Legislature passed a bill to establish a regulatory framework for the sale and taxation of recreational cannabis, but the bill was vetoed by the Governor. In 2019, the Legislature passed a new bill, which the Governor signed into law, allowing for the implementation of a regulated adult-use cannabis market in Maine.
The first legal sales of recreational cannabis in Maine began in October 2020, more than four years after the initial ballot initiative was passed. Under the law, adults 21 and over can possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants for personal use. Retail sales of recreational cannabis are also allowed at licensed dispensaries.
In Maine, there are specific packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis products sold both for medical and recreational use. These requirements are intended to protect public health, prevent access by children, and ensure that consumers receive accurate information about the products they purchase.
Here are some of the key packaging requirements for cannabis products in Maine:
- Child-resistant packaging: All cannabis products must be packaged in child-resistant packaging. This means that the packaging must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open or obtain a harmful amount of the product.
- Tamper-evident packaging: Cannabis product packaging must be designed to reveal if it has been opened or tampered with.
- Labeling: All cannabis products must be labeled with the following information:
- Name of the product
- Date of manufacture and packaging
- Net weight or volume of the contents
- A list of all ingredients, including THC and CBD content
- A warning statement regarding health risks associated with the product
- The name and contact information of the licensee that produced the product
- Health and Safety Warning Labels: All cannabis product packaging must also include a health and safety warning label with the following statement: "This product contains cannabis, a schedule I controlled substance. Keep out of reach of children and animals. Cannabis may only be possessed or consumed by persons 21 years of age or older unless the person is a qualified patient."
It's important to note that these packaging and labeling requirements may change over time as regulations evolve, so it's important for businesses and consumers to stay up-to-date on current requirements.
Maine requires the use of universal symbols on all cannabis product packaging and labeling, for both medical and recreational cannabis products. The symbols are intended to provide consumers with clear and consistent information about the contents of the product, as well as to prevent accidental consumption by children or others who should not have access to cannabis.
The specific symbols that are required to be used in Maine are established by the state's Office of Marijuana Policy, and they include:
- THC Symbol: This symbol consists of the letters "THC" within a red equilateral triangle. The symbol is used to indicate that the product contains THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis.
- "Not for Kids" Symbol: This symbol consists of a red stop sign with the silhouette of a child, along with the text "Not for Kids." This symbol is used to indicate that the product is not intended for use by children, and to help prevent accidental consumption.
- Biohazard Symbol: This symbol consists of the standard biohazard symbol, which is used to indicate that the product contains hazardous materials.
By using these symbols on cannabis product packaging and labeling, dispensaries in Maine can help to ensure that consumers receive accurate information about the products they purchase, and that the products are not accessible to children or other unauthorized individuals.
Dispensary Exit Bags
In Maine, dispensaries are required to use special exit bags for cannabis products that are sold to consumers. These exit bags are designed to be child-resistant, tamper-evident, and opaque. The requirements for exit bags are intended to prevent unauthorized access to cannabis products and to ensure that products are not visible to the public during transport.
According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, exit bags for cannabis products must meet the following requirements:
- Child-resistant: The exit bag must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open or obtain a harmful amount of the product.
- Tamper-evident: The exit bag must be designed to reveal if it has been opened or tampered with.
- Opaque: The exit bag must be opaque, which means that it must not allow the contents of the package to be seen from the outside.
- Labeling: The exit bag must also be labeled with the following information:
- Name and contact information of the dispensary
- Name of the product
- Net weight or volume of the contents
- Date of sale
It's important for dispensaries in Maine to use compliant exit bags to ensure that they meet the state's packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis products. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, license revocation, or other legal consequences.
As cannabis laws and regulations continue to change throughout the country it will be interesting to see how cannabis packaging regulations change or if they relatively stay the same. Make sure to check out S10 Labs for all your custom and compliant packaging needs.