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Periodically the MMLG blogger has the good sense to take a step back and let the experts have the floor. We did it back in February with Harry Nelson, and today we’re doing it all over again with our own Juli Crockett. As MMLG’s director of compliance, Juli has helped countless cannabis companies stay compliant and educated. In short, if we “keep the lights on,” Juli’s the one providing the electrical grid and the light bulbs. Today she’s talking about new regulations regarding packaging and the universal symbol.

New California universal symbol regs. double-dip on redundancy

It might have seemed like a redundant bad dream earlier this year, when news broke that California’s Dept. of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch clarified that their interpretation of “a product container separable from the outer-most packaging” in regard to “inhaled products” stated in 40403.c.2 meant that the universal symbol should be marked, stamped, or otherwise imprinted on the vape cartridge or vape pen itself and not just the external packaging.

Unfortunately, that redundant nightmare is now a redundant (and spooky!) reality. The CDPH has clarified their language and, yep, that’s what they meant. Oregon doubles (or triples) up the universal symbol marks and starting on June 30, 2019, California will too. In short:

  • Cannabis and cannabis product packaging that was compliant under the emergency regulations but is no longer compliant under the permanent regulations can be transferred to a licensed distributor until June 30, 2019.
  • Licensed retailers may sell these cannabis products through December 31, 2019.
  • Licensed distributors may sell these products (received prior to June 30th) though December 31, 2019.

Basically, non-compliant products (vape pens, cartridges, dabs, shatter, etc.) must be in possession of a licensed distributor by June 30. Non-compliant product may be distributed to licensed retailers and sold to consumers until December 31, 2019. After June 30, 2019, all products must have the universal symbol, again, not only on the packaging but on the product itself. [Deep breath.]

It is important to note that the universal symbol that appears on the innermost package (meaning the vape cartridge/pen itself) must be fully compliant with §40412, as in size, color, et al.

After that time, either we’ll have some cleaned up regulations (let us hope?) and/or a whole lot of universal symbol stickers (and CR packaging, and used cartridges, and exit bags…) floating around. Forgive us, Mother Earth. We’re still working this out.

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In the meantime, here’s the current set of CDPH resources for packaging/labeling compliance:


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