The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) began a rule development project on May 29, 2019 to redesign marijuana packaging and labeling requirements. This comprehensive rule overhaul project is designed to reduce the complexity and increase readability of the current rules. In their most recent policy decision the WSLCB acknowledged that rules going into effect January 1, 2019 may result in compliance costs and impacts to licensees because most processors purchase packaging and labeling materials in bulk to reduce costs. As a result, the WCSLB has elected to allow a “phase in” period that will allow licensees to cycle through existing inventory. Licensees are now required to comply by July 1, 2020 with packaging and labeling rules as adopted by the Board through interim policy on May 18, 2018, December 12th, 2018, January 9, 2019, and July 17, 2019.
Below we have listed the interim marijuana packaging and labeling requirements which amend the rules listed in Chapter 314-55 WAC.
Washington Cannabis Labeling Requirements:
- In addition to the labeling requirements provided in WAC 314-55-105, labels affixed to the container or package containing marijuana or marijuana products sold at retail must include the business or trade name and the nin or sixteen digit Washington State Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number of the licensees that produced, processed, and sold the marijuana or marijuana products. The marijuana retail licensee trade name and Washington State Unified Business Identifier Number (UBI) may be in the form of a sticker placed on the label.
- Labels affixed to a package or container containing usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, and marijuana infused products sold at retail in Washington State must not mimic, imply, represent, or contain any statement, depiction, illustration, design, brand, or name of a product containing alcohol. Product label design that mimics or implies that a marijuana product contains alcohol has been considered false and misleading, and increases public safety risk. Use of the following words or references does not supercede the current rule. Words or references include but are not limited to:
- Does not contain alcohol
- Not a beer
- Not a wine
- Not a spirit
- 0% ABV
Additional Edible & Infused Product Labeling Requirements:
- The following requirements apply to all marijuana infused edible products and their packaging and labeling.
- Only colors and shapes from an approved list on the WSLCB website can be used.
- Packaging and labeling background color must be white, cream, grey, black, tan, or brown. Up to three accent colors from the approved color list on the WSLCB website are allowed. A percentage or gradient of an approved color counts as one color.
- Packaging and labeling font color must be on of the approved colors provided on the WSLCB website. Font color counts as one of the three accent colors.
- A full color photo or photo in a chosen accent color of the product is allowed.
- Packaging with a clear window is permitted.
- Company logos are permitted. Examples of allowable logo displays are available on the WSLCB website.
Marijuana Warning Statement Requirements:
- In addition to the labeling and advertising requirements described in WAC 314-55-155, marijuana advertising and the labels affixed to the container or package containing usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, and marijuana infused products sold at retail in Washington State must not contain:
- Any statement or reference of the product having an effect on the body or mind.
- Any statement or reference that the product produces a useful or favorable result or effect
- Any statement or reference that the product impacts the health of the consumer
- Words such as, but not limited to, relief, remedy, healing, curative, remedial, medicinal, restorative, beneficial, corrective, wellness, wellbeing, salutary, salubrious, and support, are prohibited. Including the phrase” This product is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease” does not supercede the rules.
Marijuana Labeling Amendments
- The following sections of WAC-314-55-077 are amended as follows:
- (8) Marijuana infused edible products must:
- (a) be homogenized to ensure uniform disbursement of cannabinoids.
- (9) A marijuana processor is limited in the types of food or drinks they may infuse with marijuana. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, products that require cooking or baking by the consumer.
- Marijuana infused products must be dull in color, and not coated in sugar, sprinkles, or other embellishments. For purposes of this rule, “dull” is defined as low in saturation and low in lightness. Marijuana infused edibles that are brightly colored or similar to commercially available products intended for or that are targeted to youth or children are prohibited.
- Marijuana infused products that are especially appealing to children are prohibited.
- (8) Marijuana infused edible products must:
- Licensees may choose not to include the following optional information under either the current rule requirements or the new rule requirements.
- Retailer business/trade name and UBI
- Harvest date (where required in the rules)
- “Best By” date
- Manufactured date
- The above items were selected as optional under the new rule requirements because this information can be gathered from data in the traceability system.
- Additionally, inclusion of unique identifiers in the traceability system and on labels will allow the WSLCB and licensees to track products back to their source in cases where a recall may be necessary without the above information included on the label. Licensees may choose to include the above information under either the current rule requirements or the new rule requirements.
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