Let’s Talk Cannabis Labeling- Oregon
The Cannabis industry in Oregon has undergone many changes in the past year. These changes have included a halt on processing new marijuana cultivator licenses, creation of an avenue for hemp to be processed by OLCC certified processors, and most recently, an update to the labeling requirements for retail sale of marijuana.
The new labeling requirements were initiated with the passing of Oregon SB 1057 at the end of 2017, which transferred the administration of the labeling requirements from Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). While not a substitute for the rules themselves, OLCC has issued a “Packaging and Labeling Guide” updated for August of 2018, which is a valuable resource for Marijuana retailers in Oregon. A full text of the administrative order establishing the rules can be found in a .pdf document, and the rules themselves can be found on the OLCC website directly.
The OLCC hasn’t drastically changed the labeling requirements as established by OHA; in fact, the new rules have incorporated most of the OHA rules. It does make sense that the Commission in charge of regulating recreational marijuana sales is now in charge of the labeling of these products. Uniformity in rules on marijuana is an important step in stewarding this thriving industry into the future, and most importantly ensuring safety and transparency of consumer products.
Examples of important prohibitions of the labeling requirements are that a label must not:
“Contain any untruthful or misleading statements” (including health claims not supported by the “totality of publicly available scientific evidence”)
Be attractive to minors as defined at OAR 845-025-7000: (labeling must not contain cartoons, images of minors, or resemble a non-cannabis product marketed to minors, etc…)
The rules also outline that while products may contain both THC and CBD, that such a product must be labeled as a “marijuana product”, and must contain the relative concentration of each as determined by a testing laboratory.
The rule has requirements for clarity of the labeling, and the sizing of the font must be no smaller than one-sixteenth (1/16) of an inch measured by an uppercase K.
The rules also remove certain cumbersome requirements on retailers. For example, there is no longer a requirement to include test batch numbers on labels.
The long and short is that while the labeling requirements are nothing to fear, non-compliance can cost. Up to $500 per day for each violation! Marijuana retailers have until April 1, 2019 (no, not an April Fools joke) to become compliant. There is a limited grandfathering clause allowing marijuana products currently on the shelves to remain eligible for sale until December 31, 2019. By the first day of 2020, all marijuana products in the state must be compliant with the new OLCC labeling requirements.
September 14, 2018.
This post was written by Kight on Cannabis associate attorney Kamran Aryah. Kight on Cannabis is a law firm founded by attorney Rod Kight that represents legal cannabis businesses. You can contact Rod by clicking here.