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PROHIBITION OF UNTRUTHFUL OR MISLEADING STATEMENTS

Cannabis Packaging and Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations - Takeaways Part 4

PROHIBITION OF UNTRUTHFUL OR MISLEADING STATEMENTS

The report provides in-depth information directly relating to regulatory recommendations for marijuana product packaging and labeling. The recommendations were created by a multi-disciplinary stakeholder Committee that has a strong interest in cannabis packaging. Each recommendation made relating to marijuana packaging is neatly supported by a block of text that delves into the logical reasoning as to why the committee developed that recommendation. All recommendations were based on facts and information taken from surveys, federal legal research, and policy discussions. There is a strong use of model regulatory language used in the report, which is especially helpful for lawmakers and regulators working in legal cannabis states. The topics discussed in the report range from child proof weed packaging to reusable & recyclable cannabis packaging recommendations.

Recommendation 13 of the Cannabis Packaging and Labeling/Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations report focuses on the prohibition of untruthful or misleading statements on cannabis packaging products.In addition, it mandates that all licensees, whether they include a mandatory or voluntary label, outline on the marijuana packaging label itself that it is truthful and not misleading; this helps to substantiate that the included information is not untruthful or misleading consumers in any type of way.

It is a federal law that manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of “drugs, cosmetics, tobacco products, foods, supplements, and alcoholic beverages” never include false or misleading statements in their labeling. You can find lots of information relating to labeling and nutritional health claims on foods and dietary supplements here. When a product is not marketed as a drug, it cannot in any way include on its labeling that it has the ability to treat, cure, or prevent a disease. And when a product is a drug, it still may only include claims relating to treating, curing, and preventing diseases that are backed by scientific evidence; this evidence must come through rigorous studies and tests and must pass FDA substantiation standards.

In relation to cannabis products and packaging, some states have already prohibited the use of false and misleading statements in marijuana labeling, especially in regard to health claims. And in protecting the best interest of consumers, Recommendation 13 of the Cannabis Packaging and Labeling/Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations report specifically outlines that all states should adopt a policy that prohibits the use of false or misleading statements on cannabis product labeling, including those related to health and disease claims.

The second reason Recommendation 13 has been included in the report is to protect medical cannabis licensees from enforcement action by the FDA. If medical cannabis licensees are aware of the fact that they are prohibited from including false or misleading statements relating to health and disease claims on weed packaging, this helps circumvent their use of such claims, thus protecting them from enforcement about labeling issues that they otherwise would not have been aware of. Issues have occurred both recently and in the far past relating to CBD products being labeled with unlawful health and disease claims. Perhaps if these CBD manufacturers, distributors, and retailers had been aware that they were not legally allowed to label cannabis packaging products with such claims, they would not have done so and would have avoided FDA enforcement action.

The last reason Recommendation 13 has been included in the report is to simply protect consumers from being misinformed about cannabis products. Since states do not have the resources to substantiate the plethora of scientifically-backed evidence relating to cannabis health and disease claims according to FDA substantiation standards, prohibiting the use of health claims on cannabis labeling altogether provides a simple and temporary solution until such evidence can be reviewed.

Recommendation 13 in the report also outlines how some common labeling items were excluded because they are believed to be unnecessary for the protection of consumers, both from a health and safety standpoint, but they are very likely to be used voluntarily by manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for marijuana marketing purposes. The recommendation mandates that if any information is used relating to “cultivation inputs, solvents, or chemicals used in manufacturing, or terpene content,” that it must be substantiated with thorough documentation, and this substantiation must be a standard among both mandatory and voluntary cannabis labeling statements.

See the full report at this link:  https://www.crcr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Cannabis-Packaging-and-Labeling_Regulatory-Recommendations-for-States-and-Nations-1.pdf

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