5 Things to Know About New California Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Regulations, Inhalable Products, and Recycling Claims in 2023 and Beyond

By Andrea Golan

Jan 25, 2023

At the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, several notable changes in California cannabis law took effect—many of which we covered in our November 2022 California Regulatory Update webinar. As we look to 2023 and beyond, we compiled five key regulatory changes impacting cannabis packaging and labeling, recyclability claims, and inhalable cannabis products.

Flavored Inhalable Cannabis Products Are Prohibited in California

Vapes, flower, and pre-rolls may only contain natural aromatic and flavor compounds that contribute to the natural flavor or aroma of cannabis. Per the Final Statement of Reasons, flavors prohibited under this definition include, but are not limited to, menthol, mint, mango, strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, coffee, popcorn, and bubblegum. Additionally, Section 17303.1 limits the ingredients that can be used in inhalable cannabis products to cannabis, cannabis concentrate, botanically-derived terpenes, rolling paper, leaf, pre-roll filter tips, and inactive ingredients approved for inhalation by FDA.

New Proposition 65 Warnings for Cannabis Products and Places of Business That Expose Individuals to Cannabis Smoke and Delta-9 THC

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) expanded upon the state’s Proposition 65 warning requirements for products and places of business that can expose individuals to cannabis smoke or delta-9 THC. The new regulations went into effect on October 1, 2022. There’s a one-year phase-in period as well as an unlimited sell-through provision for products manufactured and labeled with compliant warnings before October 1, 2023. Read additional information about the new Prop 65 warning language.

California Cannabis Universal Symbol

The universal symbol may now be printed in either black or white. In addition, where there are multiple layers of packaging, only the universal symbol is required on the immediate container that holds the product.

Recycling Cannabis Cartridges and Vapes

Beginning July 1, 2024, the package and label of a cannabis cartridge and an “integrated cannabis vaporizer” as defined in Business and Professions Code Section 26122, cannot state that the cannabis cartridge or integrated cannabis vaporizer is disposable nor imply that it may be thrown in the trash or recycling streams. (Assembly Bill 1894). AB 1894 also imposes required recycling statements in advertising and marketing of integrated vaporizers and cannabis cartridges beginning July 1, 2024.

Chasing Arrows and Other Recycling Claims

Beginning January 1, 2024, representing that a product is recyclable through the use of the chasing arrows symbol, the term “recyclable,” or otherwise directing a consumer to recycle the product, may only be used in California if certain recyclability criteria are met. Otherwise, it is considered a deceptive or misleading claim. We advise checking with your packaging and labeling supplier(s) as one of the challenging requirements will be whether the type of ink and adhesives used will prevent recyclable claims. A product is not recyclable in California if it includes components, inks, dyes, adhesives, or labels that prevent its recyclability. (Senate Bill 343).

California Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Checklists

If you’re interested in Vicente’s 2023 packaging and labeling checklists for flower/pre-rolls, edibles, or non-edible manufactured products, please contact a member of the VS California team. Our compliance team can also assist with packaging and labeling reviews to ensure your proposed logos, labels, and packaging are compliant before sending them to the printer.

As always, if you have questions related to operating your California cannabis business, Vicente is here to help. Contact us.

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