Comments related to the DRAFT of the NACB Packaging and Labeling Standard can be submitted for consideration to the NACB until February 21, 2018.
Last Updated: January 19, 2018
AG Sessions has been vocal the past year in suggesting he doesn’t believe most states’ cannabis laws are sufficient to protect the public. The rescinding of the Cole Memo in early January was a clear shot across the bow. The NACB believes that self-regulation is the most effective course of action for NACB Members to control their own destiny in the face of regulators' growing need to intervene. Creating National Standards that in some cases are more rigorous than state law will help NACB Members protect consumers and demonstrate to regulators, financial institutions and the public that they operate at the highest levels of ethics and responsibility.
Below is the current DRAFT of the NACB’s Packaging and Labeling Standard, the first National Standard to be created by NACB Members. To ensure that all stakeholders can be heard, the NACB is accepting comments on the National Standard, which it will consider before NACB Members vote to adopt a final standard.
The NACB’s National Standards are developed through a deliberative and inclusive process. We take input from government, NACB Members, and subject matter experts into careful consideration in initially drafting the standard. We then work with those stakeholders to refine the standard before soliciting comments from the public. The NACB Packaging and Labeling National Standard will be posted online at NACB.com for a four-week period, concluding February. During this period, anyone can offer their comment to the NACB through the Submit Feedback Here button on this page. Every comment will be reviewed and considered by the NACB, and may result in a revision of the standard. Following the review period, a new draft of the standard will be circulated to NACB Members for a final vote to approve and adopt it.
Non-compliance with the NACB Packaging and Labeling National Standard, as with all NACB National Standards, can result in expulsion from the NACB or other consequences.
A Cannabis Establishment that is required to transfer Cannabis or Cannabis Products in Child-Resistant Containers or exit packages shall, with each shipment of Child-Resistant Containers or exit packages, obtain from the manufacturer of the Containers or exit packages a certificate of conformance that:
A Cannabis Retailer shall ensure that Cannabis Flower and Trim are placed in a Container prior to sale or transfer to a consumer. The Container may be, but is not required to be, Child-Resistant.
If the Cannabis Flower or Trim Container is not Child-Resistant, the Cannabis Retailer shall place the Container in a Child-Resistant exit package at the point of sale to a consumer.
Notes, Standard 2.04: Unlike for other products, the new Colorado regulations (effective 1/1/18) do not require cannabis flower or trim to be packaged in a Child- Resistant Container prior to being placed in a Child-Resistant exit package. Rather, flower and trim may be given to the consumer in a Child-Resistant exit package.
A Cannabis Establishment shall ensure that Cannabis Concentrates and Cannabis Products are placed in a Child-Resistant Container prior to sale or transfer to a consumer or another Cannabis Establishment.
Edible Cannabis Product containing more than one Standard Serving of active THC.
Notes, Standard 2.06: This Standard closely tracks Colorado’s R 604(C.5)(4)- (9), 1 C.C.R. 212-2. Edible cannabis products, particularly those that contain multiple servings, present a unique set of concerns of accidental consumption and overconsumption. These Standards seek to ensure that consumers understand how much of an edible product constitutes a serving, either by requiring separate internal packaging for each serving or by requiring product servings to be demarcated and stamped.
A Cannabis Retailer may, but is not required to, place a Container in an exit package at the point of sale to a consumer. Except as required by Standard 2.04(b), the exit package is not required to be opaque or Child-Resistant.
An exit package may not contain any statements, claims, or appeals to minors that are prohibited by this Article.
The exit package is not required to contain any warnings, statements, symbols, or other information required by this Article.
Notes, Standard 2.08: The “Container” is the package directly containing the Cannabis or Cannabis Product and is sufficient packaging for sale at retail. Some states have accommodated Cannabis Establishments that wish to include additional external packaging. Called the “marketing layer” in Colorado, the outermost packaging layer will face the consumer at retail and upon sale, so it’s reasonable to require it to convey the same information as is required on Containers. Having a marketing layer does not, however, relieve the Container itself of any labeling obligations, since a consumer is likely to discard a marketing layer soon after purchase.
the Cannabis Cultivator or Cultivators that cultivated the Cannabis or Cannabis Product; and
Notes, Standard 2.09: Subsection (a) relates to batch numbers, whereas Subsection (b) addresses license numbers. In the latter, the license numbers of the Cultivator(s) and, as applicable, Processor(s) are required on labels, but not the license number of the Retailer. There are circumstances in which the Retailer’s license number would be useful, however, so that question will be revisited when a Standard regarding recall procedures is drafted. Note also that Standard 2.22 requires the Retailer to provide its contact information on the label, perhaps obviating the need for a license number.
Notes, Standard 2.11: These warning statements are required by most or all states. The statements in Subsection (a) are required to be on the principal display panel because they are deemed especially important. To accommodate state variances in phrasing, exact language is not prescribed.
While the science on some of these warnings is inconclusive, Standard 2.11 errs on the side of caution, requiring warnings that cannabis may have certain risks or effects.
Some states require more warnings (e.g. “This product may be unlawful outside the State of _____”), but a balance must be struck because each additional warning statement risks drowning out more important warning statements.
A Cannabis or Cannabis Product Container or label may not contain any false or misleading statements.
A Cannabis or Cannabis Product Container or label may not be designed to specifically target individuals under 21 years of age, such as by including:
images of cartoon characters, toys, action figures, animals, balloons, or persons under 21 years of age;
the word “candy” or “candies,” except as part of the name of the Cannabis Establishment;
graphics or branding that is similar to commercially available candy; or
symbols or images of celebrities commonly used to market products to persons under 21 years of age.
The Container or label for any Cannabis Product shall include shall include all Ingredients in the Cannabis Product Concentrate listed by common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight.
The Container or label for any Cannabis Product that is intended to be eaten or ingested orally and that contains milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans must state that the product “contains” such food allergen(s) and name the food source from which each allergen is derived.
If regulations promulgated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration classify new allergens as “major food allergens,” the requirements of this Standard shall be updated to require that the Container or label for any Cannabis Product that is intended to be eaten or ingested orally state that the product “contains” such food allergen(s) and name the food source from which each allergen is derived.
Notes, Standard 2.15: This Standard is similar to the FDA’s guidance on the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, which defines as “major allergens” the allergens listed in Subsection (a) because they account for approximately 90% of all food allergies.
Notes, Standards 2.16 and 2.17: These Standards closely track the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definitions of “disease claims” and “health claims,” which cannot be made without FDA approval. The FDA has not approved cannabis, so “disease claims” and “health claims” cannot be made about cannabis.
These Standards do, however, leave room for certain claims regarding the effects of cannabis. These claims, which are somewhat analogous to what the FDA calls “structure/function claims,” must be substantiated and accompanied by a disclaimer that the effects of cannabis vary by person.
[NOTE to SGB: Standard outlining statements concerning testing performed, testing results, potency, active ingredients, and related topics to be developed concurrently with the NACB’s laboratory testing standards]
The statements and information required by this Article must be written or printed clearly and in English. In addition to English, a label may include an accurate translation of the required statements and information in another language.
Label text must be unobstructed and conspicuous. A Cannabis Establishment may affix multiple labels to a 9 container, provided that none of the statements or information required by this Article is obstructed.
The statements and information required by this Article must be written or printed in fonts and text sizes that are clear and legible to consumers.
Each Cannabis or Cannabis Product container or label shall state the name of the licensee that produced the product and the licensee’s phone number.