Cannabis Packaging Requirements: Missouri
Cannabis legalization has been a hotly debated topic in the United States for decades. However, in recent years, a growing number of states have been legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use. Missouri is one of the latest states to join this trend, having passed a medical cannabis law in 2018 and recreational law in 2022.
As the state works to implement its new recreational cannabis program, it is essential to understand the current packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis products and be aware of how they may change. Proper packaging and labeling not only ensure compliance with the law but also provide important information for consumers. In this blog post, we'll explore the cannabis packaging and labeling requirements in Missouri and what they mean for both cannabis businesses and consumers.
Cannabis Legalization in Missouri
Missouri's journey towards medical cannabis legalization was a long and winding road. In 2014, the state passed a law allowing the use of CBD oil for certain medical conditions, but it didn't legalize medical cannabis outright. It wasn't until 2018 that the state passed a comprehensive medical cannabis law, known as Amendment 2, which allowed for the use of medical cannabis by patients with qualifying conditions, like persistent seizures.
The law passed with 66% of the vote in a statewide ballot initiative. The state then had to develop regulations for the program, which took over a year. Finally, in late 2019, the first medical cannabis dispensaries opened in the state. The program continues to evolve as more dispensaries open and the state issues more licenses for growers and manufacturers.
After the legalization of medical cannabis in the state, cannabis advocates looked towards the next step of recreational legalization. In August 2022, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced that an initiative called Amendment 3 would appear on the November 2022 ballot to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
The initiative sought to allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to three ounces of cannabis, cultivate six flowering and non-flowering plants and clones for registered individuals who pay a $100 annual fee, and impose a 6% sales tax on cannabis sold at state-licensed dispensaries. The tax revenue was to be used for expunging non-violent cannabis offenses, providing healthcare for veterans, substance abuse treatment, and funding the state's public defender system. Local governments were also allowed to assess a sales tax of up to 3%. On November 8, 2022, Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 by a margin of 53-47, and possession of cannabis for adults became legal on December 8, 2022. The first licensed sales of recreational cannabis occurred on February 3, 2023.
Who Regulates Cannabis Packaging in the State?
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is responsible for overseeing and regulating the packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis products in the state. The DHSS is the agency charged with implementing and enforcing the state's medical cannabis program, including the rules and regulations governing the production, testing, packaging, and labeling of cannabis products.
The department's responsibilities include developing and updating regulations for medical and recreational cannabis products, issuing licenses to businesses that wish to produce or sell cannabis products, and conducting inspections and investigations to ensure compliance with state regulations. Additionally, the DHSS works with other state agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, to enforce packaging and labeling regulations and ensure the safety and quality of cannabis products sold in Missouri.
After the legalization of recreational cannabis use in November of 2022, the lawmakers in Missouri began working on the framework for the sale and distribution of adult-use cannabis products. In January 2023, the DHSS released proposed rules for this sector of the cannabis industry in the state.
We will discuss the proposed updates in the next paragraph. Following are the most up to date packaging and labeling laws:
- The packaging must be child-resistant and made of opaque materials to prevent any visibility of the product inside.
- Packaging must not be appealing to a minor.
- All labels of marijuana products must contain a ‘marijuana’ or ‘marijuana infused product’ clear font larger than any other font on the package label.
- The packaging should not boast any health benefits claims and must outline any required warnings.
- Labels must include the name and contact information of the manufacturer, date of cultivation, expiration or "best by" date, net weight or volume, batch or lot number, and the percentage of THC and CBD in the product.
- The package must include the warning ”Cognitive and physical impairment may result from the use of Marijuana” in at least 7-point font.
- The package must be tagged with the statewide track and trace system information.
All cannabis operators in the state should be aware of these regulations and stick to them to avoid penalties and fines.
Emergency and Proposed Rules
In order for lawmakers to begin Missouri’s transition into the adult use market they released a series of emergency and proposed rules and regulations for the cannabis industry. Following are some of the proposed rules for packaging and labeling for the state’s newest cannabis program.
According to the proposed regulations, cannabis product packaging would have to adhere to these specific guidelines. The regulations state that the shape of the packaging or the product itself cannot resemble any part of a human, animal, or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.
Furthermore, all cannabis product packaging, including exit packaging, may only utilize a single color, the product name, text indicating whether the product is sativa, indica, or a hybrid, and up to two logos or symbols of a different color or colors. The logos or symbols, whether images or text, including brand logos, cannot be larger than two inches in length and two inches in height.
By enforcing these packaging requirements, Missouri aims to prevent the marketing and advertising of cannabis products to minors and promote the responsible use of cannabis by adults.
Which Proposed Rules Will Stick?
As Missouri gets ready to fully open the adult use cannabis market only time will tell how packaging and labeling requirements will change. Cannabis operators should make sure to keep up to date on all changes and buy their packaging from reputable and complaint providers. Those looking for state compliant packaging can reach out to the experts at S10 Labs to discuss packaging and customization options for their brand.