WARNING STATEMENTS — “Cannabis Packaging and Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations” – Takeaways Part 3

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.

Dog lying infront of CBD edibles productsRecommendation 12 focuses on Warning Statements. It is believed that several warning labels should be included on all packaging of cannabis products to improve the overall safety of these products. The exact warning statements that are suggested to be included on cannabis packaging were determined by the type of product being sold. For example, the report outlines that all cannabis products should come in packaging that clearly warns to “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS,” and “This product may be unlawful outside of the State of [insert state].”  Many states already mandate a “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN” warning label on all cannabis products, but many fail to include pets. The report took into consideration stories of cannabis products making pets ill.

The importance of labeling all products with “This product may be unlawful outside of the state of [insert state] lies in the fact that cannabis is not legal in all states. Many people fail to remember that just because they legally purchase cannabis in one state does not mean they are lawfully able to transport it across state lines.

For products that are intended for use by adults only, the report suggests a warning statement to read “For use only by adults twenty-one and older.” For cannabis products that are deemed to be used for medical purposes, the report suggests that product should include the statement “For medical use only.” Some states require warning labels to include the phrase “For medical use only by a qualifying patient.” However, some states that allow recreational use of cannabis also allow consumers to use cannabis products at their own will for medical use. By eliminating “by a qualifying patient,” the warning statement then becomes applicable and appropriate for all states that allow recreational use of cannabis.

If a cannabis product has any ingredients that include psychoactive properties, the report recommends that the warning shall read as “This product may have intoxicating effects. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of cannabis.”  Some states require a similar statement to be put on all cannabis products, and unfortunately, this means that any cannabis product, whether it has an intoxicating potential or not, gets labeled as having the potential to cause an intoxicating effect. This is misleading to consumers. By mandating that such warning labels only be applied to products with psychoactive properties, it becomes much easier for consumers to be aware of which products have the ability to intoxicate them.

For cannabis products that are meant to be ingested as well as those that have activated concentrates or are intended to be cooked with, the recommended warning statement should appear as “Activation times vary but may be up to two (2) hours when this product is eaten or swallowed,” or an alternative statement supported by data from an activation time study and approved by the Department. Requiring this type of statement is effective in helping consumers avoid accidental overconsumption.

The Takeaway

Including these warning statements should not be viewed as being harsh toward the cannabis industry. Any consumer product, such as alcohol and prescription drugs, must have such warning labels to improve consumer safety.

There are great variances in current state-mandated warning statements, so this report carefully curated appropriate warning statements that could be used by all states and nations. There were many ranges of subjects and wording options that were considered during the curation of these statements to ensure they were appropriate.

See the full report at this link:


Bill Ludlow
Bill Ludlow
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