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Child Resistant Marijuana Packaging Regulations

(CPSC, PPPA, CFR 1700, 1700.20, ASTM) -- “What does it all mean?”

Child Resistant Marijuana Packaging Regulations

It can be very confusing when regulations for marijuana packaging might be called out with different references without much explanation.  This article is intended to help readers understand what it all means.  Let’s take a look at each and then bring them all together.

CPSC — The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

Testing and certification of child-resistant packaging falls under the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC.  The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) established in 1972, is an umbrella statute that established the CPSC, defines CPSC’s basic authority and authorizes the agency to develop standards and bans.  It also gives the CPSC the authority to pursue recalls and to ban products under certain circumstances.  The CPSC is responsible for the oversight of the PPPA (see below).  You can read more about the CPSC here and a descriptive excerpt is quoted below — https://www.cpsc.gov/About-CPSC

CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

PPPA – The Poison Prevention Packaging Act

One of the Statutes under the authority of the CPSC is The Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA).  You can read more about the PPPA here and a descriptive excerpt is quoted below — https://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws–Standards/Statutes/Poison-Prevention-Packaging-Act

Enacted in 1970, the PPPA requires a number of household substances to be packaged in child-resistant packaging. The packaging required by the PPPA must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly. For the sake of the elderly and handicapped who might have difficulty opening such containers, the Act provides that a regulated product available for purchase on store shelves may be packaged in one non-complying size provided it carries a warning that it is not recommended for use in households with children, and provided that the product is also supplied in complying popular size packages. Regulated prescription drugs may be dispensed in non-child-resistant packaging upon the specific request of the prescribing doctor or the patient. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates economic poisons, such as pesticides. Since the regulation has been in effect, there have been remarkable declines in reported deaths from ingestions by children of toxic household products including medications.

CFR 1700 – The Code of Federal Regulations (The US Statute or Law)

CFR 1700 is one of the statutes within the PPPA that covers Poison Prevention Packaging.  You can find Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1700 at this link — https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/16/part-1700 .  There are subsections of CFR 1700 i.e. 1700.1 (Definitions), 1700.2 (Authority), 1700.3 (Establishment of Standards for Special Packaging), and so on.  The final subsection of CFR 1700 is 1700.20 (Testing Procedure for Special Packaging).

CFR 1700.20 – Testing Procedure for Special Packaging

CFR 1700.20 defines the procedure or protocol that a package must go through to become certified as child-resistant as defined by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and can be found here — https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/16/1700.20.  Some examples of the child testing procedure include (but are not limited to):

  • Use from 1 to 4 groups of 50 children, as required under the sequential testing criteria in table 1. No more than 20% of the children in each group shall be tested at or obtained from any given site
  • 30% of the children in each group shall be of age 42-44 months
  • 40% of the children in each group shall be of age 45-48 months
  • 30% of the children in each group shall be of age 49-51 months
  • The difference between the number of boys and the number of girls in each age range shall not exceed 10% of the number of children in that range
  • Each child shall be given up to 5 minutes to open his / her package.
  • At the end of the 5-minute period the tester shall demonstrate how to open the packaging.
  • If one or both children have not used their teeth to try to open their packages during the first 5 minutes, the tester shall say immediately before beginning the second 5-minute period, “YOU CAN USE YOUR TEETH IF YOU WANT TO.”
  • The test shall continue for an additional 5 minutes or until both children have opened their packages, whichever comes first.

Photo from ASTM Report

The testing procedure also required that the package must meet the senior adult use effectiveness (SAUE) test.  In this test it is required that adults are able to open the package.  Some examples of the adult testing procedure include (but are not limited to):

  • Use a group of 100 senior adults. Not more than 24% of the senior adults tested shall be obtained from or tested at any one site
  • 25% of the participants shall be 50-54 years of age
  • 25% of participants shall be 55-59 years of age
  • 50% of the participants shall be 60-70 years old
  • 70% of the participants of ages 50-59 and ages 60-70 shall be female (17 or 18 females shall be apportioned to the 50-54 year age group)

ASTM – Designation D3475

ASTM International (ASTM), originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.  ASTM D3475 covers the Standard Classification of Child-Resistant Packages.  ASTM Standards are not free.  A .PDF version of the standard can be downloaded here for $46 — https://www.astm.org/Standards/D3475.htm .  ASTM meets periodically to review and update the standards.  The most recent revision of D3475 is -17 (D3475-17) which was issued in 2017.  The ASTM standard lists examples of child-resistant packaging as an aid in the understanding and comprehension of each type of classification.  Listings are not to be considered endorsements or approval of the package by ASTM.  The ASTM standard DEFINES a child-resistant package – as defined by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, packaging that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open…

So what does all of this means related to my marijuana packaging requirements?

At this time not all states are consistent in how they call out the requirements for marijuana packaging in regulations.  Regulations could require:

  • Child-resistant packaging to be “compliant with ASTM” or “compliant with ASTM D3475-17”
  • Child-resistant packaging to be “compliant with the CPSC” or “compliant with PPPA”
  • Child-resistant packaging to be “compliant with 16 CFR 1700” or “compliant with 16 CFR 1700.20”
  • Child-resistant packaging must be “designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly”

ALL OF THESE DESIGNATIONS POINT BACK TO ONE IMPORTANT THING… THAT THE PACKAGE HAS BEEN TESTED ACCORDING TO THE TESTING PROTOCOL AS DEFINED IN 16 CFR 1700.20.  You should get a certification from your packaging supplier that certifies that the package has been tested under the guidelines of 16 CFR 1700 or more specifically 16 CFR 1700.20.  If you are unable to get such a certification, then think twice about using that package.

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