S10 Blog

Cannabis Packaging Requirements: Massachusetts

Published Date:
February 28, 2023

As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve in Massachusetts, one area that has received increased attention is the packaging and labeling of cannabis products. With the legalization of both medical and adult-use cannabis in the state, there is a need for clear and informative packaging that not only complies with state regulations but also protects consumers and promotes responsible use. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the requirements and considerations for cannabis packaging in Massachusetts and explore some of the latest trends and innovations in this area.

Cannabis Legalization

weed laws in massachusetts

Medical Cannabis

Massachusetts legalized medical cannabis through a voter-approved ballot initiative in November 2012. The law, known as the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative or Question 3, allows qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions to access medical cannabis with a recommendation from a qualified healthcare provider. Although voters approved the bill with 63% of the vote, the first medical cannabis dispensary in Massachusetts did not open until June 2015.

Recreational Cannabis

Massachusetts legalized the recreational use of cannabis in November 2016 through a voter-approved ballot initiative known as Question 4. The initiative passed with 54% of the vote, making Massachusetts one of the first states on the East Coast to legalize cannabis for adult use.

The law also established the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to regulate the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of cannabis products in the state. The CCC is responsible for granting licenses to businesses that want to operate in the cannabis industry, enforcing regulations, and collecting taxes.

Packaging Rules and Regulations

cannabis packaging in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has established regulations for cannabis packaging and labeling for both medical and adult-use products. The goal of these regulations is to ensure that cannabis products are packaged and labeled in a way that is safe for consumers and provides clear information about the product inside. Here are some of the key requirements for cannabis packaging in Massachusetts:

  • Child-resistant packaging: All cannabis products sold in Massachusetts must be packaged in child-resistant packaging that meets certain standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Warning labels: Cannabis product packages must include a warning label that complies with CCC regulations, which includes a statement that the product contains THC, a warning against driving or operating heavy machinery while using the product, and a statement that the product is for adult use only.
  • Lab testing information: Packages must include information about the lab that conducted testing on the product, the date of testing, and the results of the testing.
  • Product information: Packages must include information about the strain, potency, and serving size of the product, as well as any potential allergens and a list of ingredients.
  • Tamper-evident features: Packages must have a tamper-evident feature that shows if the package has been opened or tampered with.
  • Nondescript packaging: Adult-use cannabis products must be sold in nondescript packaging that does not include any branding or advertising.

It's important to note that these requirements may change over time, as the cannabis industry continues to evolve and new regulations are established. It's important for cannabis businesses to stay up-to-date on any changes or updates to packaging requirements in Massachusetts.

Updates Made by the CCC

labeling for cannabis products

The CCC has made several changes and updates to its regulations since the state's adult-use cannabis market launched in 2018. Here are some of the key updates to the CCC's cannabis packaging rules:

  • Ban on certain packaging materials: In 2019, the CCC banned the use of certain types of packaging materials, including opaque or translucent packaging that is not child-resistant, and packaging that imitates the packaging of non-cannabis products.
  • Addition of new warning labels: In 2019, the CCC updated its warning label requirements to include a new warning about the risks of cannabis use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Changes to serving size requirements: In 2020, the CCC updated its serving size requirements to allow for smaller serving sizes, which is intended to promote responsible use and help prevent accidental overconsumption.
  • Relaxation of nondescript packaging requirements: In 2021, the CCC relaxed its nondescript packaging requirements for adult-use cannabis products, allowing for some limited branding and advertising on packaging.
  • Pre Approval Process: In 2021, the CCC established that they must pre-approve packaging and labeling before it hits the cannabis market. Approval is required for all new packaging or designs that have been greatly changed. The fee to submit an application is $50.

These are just a few examples of the updates and changes that the CCC has made to its cannabis packaging regulations. It's important for cannabis businesses in Massachusetts to stay informed about any updates or changes to these regulations in order to ensure compliance with state requirements.

Staying Compliant

Cannabis operations in Massachusetts face some of the strictest regulations on packaging and labeling out of all states who have a legalized cannabis market. Those producing cannabis products should make sure to keep updated on the workings of the CCC and any changes they make to the rules and regulations regarding packaging and labeling.

Operators looking for a trusted packaging provider can explore the services and options provided by the experts at S10 Labs. They offer premium cannabis packaging and labeling that is consistently state compliant, no matter where your operation is based.

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