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Cannabis Packaging Regulations in Canada vs. the United States

Cannabis Packaging Regulations in Canada vs. the United States

Following the ever-changing landscape of cannabis legislation is essential for any business. This is particularly true for companies shipping in the U.S. or Canada. The rules vary with starkly different federal circumstances between Canada and the United States. 

Currently the United States market is reliant on state-by-state legislation, creating a patchwork of rules to follow. However, cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, leaving rules to vary at each state line. 

Canada initially federally legalized cannabis oil, plants, and plant seeds back in 2018 and has since seen an expeditious rise in their federal market growth since. Part of this was the push for “Cannabis 2.0” legislation which legalized edibles and cannabis concentrates in 2019; thus, broadening the market supply further and growing the cannabis audience thanks to greater accessibility and use.

While the nations (and U.S. states) have various rules, each is intended to protect children from accessing cannabis. 

Importance of Child-Resistant Packaging in Both Countries

Consistent in both circumstances is the importance of quality packaging. Safety is the key for both the product and the user, especially when ensuring it is not accessed by anyone who should not be reaching for it yet. 

The push by the cannabis industry to innovate child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging while ensuring it functions with ease for communities such as the disabled and elderly has led to the first updates to standard child-resistant packaging in fifty years. Also of high importance is the proper labeling regulations, which can go so far as to differ on how much must be detailed on a state-to-state level in the United States. However, once again, the industry took the opportunity to recognize the challenge and incorporate innovation into it by ensuring that packaging concisely displays all the essential details in a way that did not affect the aesthetic of the packaging or deviate from strong branding while maintaining compliant standards.

U.S. Cannabis Packaging Laws

Due to the differences among state legislations in America, packaging and labeling requirements can get tricky. 

Beyond child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging, it is worth reviewing all parameters of the rules. Certain states require a specific level of product visibility. For example, states like Massachusetts, Oregon, and Colorado require that packaging must be opaque. Regarding branding, to further guarantee there is no confusion for children, cartoons or graphics are prohibited in seven states. 

Labeling requirements may entail smoking and consumption warnings while some states also highlight specific allergens. Keeping track of these conditions and the legislative changes is made easier with different organizations and certain proprietary tools that can cost a regular fee in some cases. Others choose to closely watch the issues themselves. Though, if you have the budget, it is likely best to consult with a legal expert before making any company decisions. 

Canadian Cannabis Packaging Laws

With federal regulations overseen by Health Canada, the equivalent to the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Canadian packaging requirements are presumably more straightforward due to consistency throughout the provinces and territories. 

Where issues arise, however, is the restrictive nature of the legislation as it currently stands. Packaging must include only a single non-fluorescent color with no photos or images except one small brand logo. A THC warning symbol is also required, indicating the content’s THC levels. The logo must be sized in accordance with the warning symbol. 

Due to the intentionally generic appearance this produces, it creates alternative issues for Canadian operators. Still, brands have strived to work within the tight constraints while challenges against the restrictive legislation are pending review.

Top Options for Child-Resistant Cannabis Brands In Both Countries

Pre-Rolls

Thanks to the ease afforded by pre-rolls, numerous market-compliant options are available in America and Canada. The AssurSeal™ M-line serves as a great option due to the airtightness preventing dryness despite continued opening of the packaging. 

The SecurSlide® MatchBox collection offers a great selection of sizes and appeal for pre-rolls thanks to their fluted paper inserts keeping them comfortably stored. Also offering a unique CPSC-certified reclosable and reusable design with the squeeze opening and snap closure ensures pre-rolls maintain their terpenes for a fresh selection each time. 

For a customizable blister pack option, the AssurCard® offers a direct-pour mold with an airtight seal to protect the terpenes and cannabinoids of the pre-rolls while still accessible with the push-and-tear design. For a simple and classic option, the MarBox-CR® offers a variety of flip-top box sizes that only requires one hand and provides paper inserts for added security.

Edibles

Due to the diverse assortment of edibles on the market, the packaging options available accommodate that variety. Some of the aforementioned options, such as the SecurSlide®, AssurCard®, AssurSeal™, and MarBox-CR® serve as excellent options for keeping edibles secure and fresh. 

A premier option for edibles is the AssurClam®, as it boosts the most variety with 14 stock sizes and additional custom molding offered. The AssurPro® Carton also provides a tremendous equipment-free option as a secure foil blister pack if a quick turnaround is needed for packaging.

Topicals

For topical options, the AssurPouch® works thanks to its child-resistant, scissors-free design through its fold and tear design. Alternatively, the spray bottle options provide a locking feature to protect children and offer three sizes with custom color choices.

Vapes

Packaging for vapes that service all markets can be found in the specifically-made SecurSlide® Oil Cartridge and Vape Pen, providing custom inserts to accommodate a variety of sizes. The AssurCard® also offers a customizable blister pack option that is child-resistant and can be easily opened with its push-and-tear function.

Concentrates

Concentrates, oils, and extracts can be securely packaged using the SecurSlide® MatchBox as the medical-grade silicone liner specifically helps guarantee the preservation of the terpenes. Alternatively, the AssurClam® brings versatility and customizable for various concentrates’ diverse packaging requirements while promoting reusability among consumers.

Flower

For flower, the AssurSeal™ D-line provides an excellent option for both American and Canadian markets. Thanks to its unique “D” shape container coupled with its lab-certified airtightness, rated the highest of any packaging at USP 671:Tight, it ensures freshness and extended shelf life. With its one-handed “thumbs up” opening, it still manages to be child-resistant. There are two sizes available with the AssurSeal™ D75 and D88, and both have opaque options in white and black. With either, customers can enjoy their flower, and your brand can be sure to serve its clientele well while remaining compliant in all legal jurisdictions.
Get in touch with our team today to learn more about packaging solutions that adhere to your marketplace.