2022 Cannabis Packaging Requirements in California

Pictures of marijuana product packaging

With the new year ramping up and cannabis laws sometimes changing so fluidly, it’s crucial to ensure that your business is compliant with California cannabis law. Whether it’s distributing flowers, concentrates, or edibles, each item has its own set of requirements that marijuana businesses must adhere to; to avoid significant penalties.

To help keep you compliant with the weed laws in California, we’ve come up with a survival guide below to help navigate through all the state’s requirements so your business can continue to thrive.

Keep Out of Children’s Reach

Since marijuana’s legalization in 2016, child-resistant packaging has been one of the main centerpieces in California cannabis law. Your business must carry marijuana packaging that is difficult for five-year-olds and under to open in a lab environment.

Having cannabis packaging in California that is child-resistant and tamper-evident are the two main pillars of California cannabis regulations. Child-resistant packaging, whether it’s custom packaging or not, needs to meet the formal requirements for child-resistant packaging in California to ensure continued operation.

Tamper-Evident Is Key

Regardless of whether your marijuana business distributes edibles, concentrates, or any cannabis flower, it must be tamper-evident to where it’s visible if the package has been opened. You must protect manufactured cannabis products from contamination and damaging exposure to harmful substances with packaging that’s tamper-evident, child-resistant, and certified by third parties approved by the Department of Cannabis Control.

You never want to find out that your cannabis packaging is not complicit with weed laws in California; it’s a hefty fine that no store owner wants to pay if they can avoid it from happening. Having tamper-evident packaging is vital for staying complicit within the state of California and staying away from penalties like exorbitant fines.


Put A Label on It!

It’s not enough to simply have quality cannabis packaging in California that’s child-resistant and tamper-evident. Under California cannabis law, cannabis labels are divided into primary and information panels.

Proper cannabis label compliance consists of the primary panel being visible and explicitly showing the most essential information on the top or the front of the packaging.

In contrast, the information panel must be located on the back of the packaging or anywhere else that’s easily visible. The information panel contains required information that isn’t required to be on the front and center of your packaging.

When you’re distributing marijuana flowers or edibles, proper labeling is integral for ensuring that your company is in line with California packaging requirements. Proper labeling is most important for edibles that are considered potent upon consumption. It is required to have a CA weed warning label on all exit bags and containers when distributing cannabis products.


Manufactured Cannabis Product Requirements

Manufactured cannabis products typically consist of edibles (cookies, gummies, beverages, etc.), concentrates (wax, hash, shatter, etc.), vape oils, capsules, tinctures, and many other cannabis-based items. With California edibles packaging, you must apply the proper California marijuana labels on the packaging in a visible spot for your customers to see. To stray away from hefty fines from the state, following these cannabis packaging requirements will ensure you’re fully protected.

Other Packaging Requirements

There are a few more small details that your business should know before designing any cannabis packaging or custom weed bags. It’s essential to keep in mind that when creating packaging compliant with California’s weed laws.


When it comes to labeling, you want to ensure that you adhere to all state requirements. Cannabis product packaging cannot be designed to appeal to children, and all print must be clear and legible. Labels must be printed in 6pt. font and must be visible on the outer layering of the cannabis packaging.

You can use peel-back labels or inserts on small marijuana packaging that can’t fit all the critical information on the front. However, all required information appears plainly on the package, and it’s insufficient to direct buyers to a website.

The California Department of Public Health also prohibits county names from being included on the packaging unless the products were 100% cultivated in that county. Pictures of the product, misleading information, and unproven health claims are strictly prohibited.


Cannabis Waste Labeling Requirements

It’s not enough to simply have your marijuana packaging adhering to cannabis packaging regulations. California has specific labeling requirements for disposing of certain types of marijuana waste. These requirements apply to anyone that grows, packages, processes, sells, or distributes cannabis in a licensed commercial capacity.

Over the past decade through CalRecycle, there have been extensive series of workshops and meetings with industry stakeholders on reducing the landfilling of all types of packaging materials. There are no harsh regulations for how organic marijuana waste, such as plant material, must be labeled, separated, and distinguished from regular waste products.

Labeling your receptacle also helps differentiate your marijuana waste and ensures accurate weighing and tracing. Many marijuana companies have begun transitioning from single-use packaging with recyclable exit bags, biodegradable pop-tops, and a slew of other recyclable packaging options.


Staying Compliant Checklist

To make sure that your marijuana business is staying compliant with the California labeling requirements, it helps to keep a checklist of everything to satisfy all Prop 64 packaging regulations:

  • Working with a credible marijuana packaging provider
  • Order rolls of Prop 65 warning stickers to complement your company’s labels (if the label already doesn’t show the required warning)
  • Order rolls of state-compliant labels that you can fill out yourself (if you can’t afford the first option)
  • Have a reputable and knowledgeable legal representative review your packaging for any mistakes

Most importantly, when it comes to marijuana packaging, the most beneficial thing you can do for your business is work with a seasoned waste management provider. The marijuana packaging and labeling requirements fluidly evolve, so it pays to ensure that you’re up to date on all the current requirements needed to successfully package your cannabis without facing hefty fines from the state.

Stay Informed! Join California NORML’s Email Alert List

Support Cal NORML’s Advocacy Efforts!
Make a Donation today!

Donation amount
Donation frequency