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Comprehensive Cannabis Packaging Compliance Guide

Comprehensive Cannabis Packaging Compliance Guide

Posted by Custom Cones USA on Dec 15th 2022

Introduction:

What is compliance and why is it important in the cannabis industry?

Here at Custom Cones USA, we understand that what is required to be compliant is confusing and can be difficult to keep track of in a rapidly evolving industry like cannabis. This is why we believe complete transparency is key to understanding the overall cannabis compliance landscape, and why we’ve chosen to break it all down into the major areas you will want to test your products and packaging for, including:

  • Heavy Metals Testing
  • Pesticide Testing
  • Microbial Testing
  • Child Resistance Certification

And other certifications and tests depend upon the compliance regulations in the locale you are selling cannabis products within.

Why does Custom Cones USA believe compliance and transparency are crucial?

Compliance may not be important to the average cannabis consumer, but it should be front of mind for your business’s sake! As the Pre-Roll Experts, we consider it our mission to help you with everything needed to not just start your pre-roll line, but to keep it going and growing even stronger.

Failure to comply with government standards could result in you losing capital and even your license, as authorities are eager to punish companies skirting regulations for both fining and example-making purposes.

Don't be made an example of-some business owners may calculate the risk vs. reward of bending certain cannabis and pre-roll specific compliance guidelines and feel that they won’t be unlucky in an ever-crowding cannabis market. However, the consequences can potentially be devastating to your business if you choose to slack on your standards. Consider that even one SKU found to have some violation in either packaging or testing could have costly recalls– as well as cause your customers to lose confidence in your products.

What types of testing should I be concerned about for my pre-roll business?

The main tests are similar across state and other boundary lines: Essentially checking for below a certain threshold of heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials within all of our smokeable consumer products.

Heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and others less well-known can be hazardous to human health. Therefore, many locales require heavy metal testing for pre-roll products, as it is an issue that can particularly impact outdoor grown cannabis.

Pesticides are similarly something cannabis businesses should be aware of, as they may have been used to grow the marijuana plant used for your pre-rolls, and certain pesticides are not allowed, or are allowed of varying tolerances in different states.

Microbials are another testing type as well as testing for resulting mycotoxins from microbial exposure, which are potentially harmful to humans. These can surface as mold in a product, which is why it’s a crucial component to consider for consumer health and safety, as well as for the quality and integrity of the product. Read more on microbials and mycotoxins here.

Our Pre-Roll Experts want to make your job easier-that's why we ensure our pre-rolled cones meet the most rigorous standards so that by the time you fill them with your product, passing regulations should be easier than ever! We strive for a product that exceeds expectations so that our customers can have better peace of mind.

GLOSSARY OF COMMON CANNABIS COMPLIANCE TERMS

Custom Cones USA is trying to make it easier than ever for cannabis professionals looking for quick answers, so we've consolidated a list of helpful compliance-related terms you might need to know.

We keep this resource updated for your convenience, so please– bookmark this article and share it with your cannabis industry colleagues!

  • Attestation Letter - An attestation letter is a document that expresses the reliability of an assertion made by another party. The individual who writes and signs the attestation letter is certifying their first-hand knowledge regarding the assertions or claims that are made in the letter.
  • Child Resistant Packaging (CR Packaging) - Child-resistant packaging is special packaging used to reduce the risk of children ingesting hazardous materials. This is often accomplished using a special safety cap. The certification that most test are conducted for is Code of Federal Regulations Title 16, Part 1700.20.
  • COA (Certificate of Analysis) - A certificate of analysis is a document associated with cannabis-derived products, attesting to its laboratory analysis for cannabinoids and in some cases adulterants, heavy metals and pesticides, mold, etc. 
  • COC (Certificate of Conformance) - A Certificate of Conformity affirms that a product or service conforms to quality and safety requirements. 
  • FDA (Food and Drug Administration) – Typically, pre-roll products would be tested under FDA 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 176.170. This statement or certificate certifies that the referred-to product meets the food safety requirements set by the US FDA council.
  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) - The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit that promotes responsible management of the world's forests. It is an example of a market-based certification program used as a transnational environmental policy. 
  • GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) - Good manufacturing practices are the practices required to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, dietary supplements, and medical devices. 
  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization) - The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. 
  • MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) / SDS (Safety Data Sheet) - The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical. 
  • Organic Hemp Source Statement - This is a statement that certifies any sourced hemp is 100% organic and derived from 100% organic farming practices.  
  • PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) - The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. It is considered the certification system of choice for small forest owners. 
  • Product Specification - A Product Specification is an important product document that outlines key requirements for the product. Like a blueprint, a product specification contains key information, like product characteristics, target value, ISO Standard, and other essential details. 
  • TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) - A statement that certifies the product is free from chlorine.  
  • TDS (Technical Data Sheet) - This document is similar to a Product Specification document and shares key technical information about a product.
  • Technical Drawing - A technical drawing is a drawing that visually communicates how something functions or is constructed. In our case, a technical drawing will be the technical measurements and design functions of our products.

Smoking Compliance Concerns

The main three panels of testing for pre-roll products are for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials. These are the main panels of tests required for smoking products and even edible products in most markets.

PESTICIDE TESTING

PESTICIDE TESTING

Each panel of tests searches for different elements which may vary from locale to locale, even within the same testing category. For example, one state may prioritize certain pesticides that another doesn’t even test for– and standards change even more when looked at on an international scale! 

Some locales also have higher or lower tolerance levels even if they test for the same pesticides, so what may pass in one state market, may fail in a stricter state market.

Luckily for our customers, Custom Cones USA tests all our materials even beyond the strictest standards in the country— which belong to the state of California, which tests for 66 different pesticides under Phase 3 standards. Our Pre-Roll Experts uphold our products to Canadian standards, which test for 96 pesticides, including all of those under California’s Phase 3 compliance standards. We can provide the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all our pre-roll products upon request and can conduct additional testing if needed, or specific batch testing, by request and for an additional fee.

For a full list of pesticides we test for at Custom Cones USA, check out this table of 96 active pesticides restricted by the Canadian government.

For cannabis farms growing indoors, there is a bit of good news: You have 100% control over what pesticides can be used in your crop. Some states ban certain pesticides entirely, so be wary of this when choosing how to plant your cannabis crops.

Unfortunately for those who grow outdoors, much like with heavy metals, pesticide contamination can become a concern. Even for outdoor growers who opt out of using pesticides, pesticide drift can still occur, which is when the wind blows over pesticides from a neighboring farm.

HEAVY METAL TESTING

Heavy metals can cause dangerous health issues and most markets will require testing for them for smokable and consumable products for consumer safety. Heavy metals can come into your product from the soil, so this may be a bigger concern for outdoor growers than for indoor growing setups. Additionally, the heavy metals may not be present in your soil initially but can later drift over from polluted water sources or even from smoke or ash debris from nearby wildfires.

While heavy metal testing is generally going to be a concern in many locales, the level of intensity can vary widely. For example, Chromium is an extremely difficult-to-eliminate heavy metal from paper products but isn’t a consideration for most markets. However, Chromium compliance standards in Missouri have made pre-roll sales virtually impossible to implement in a market-compliant manner within that state.

MICROBIAL AND MYCOTOXIN TESTING

Microbial testing is of massive importance in the cannabis industry, and Custom Cones USA takes testing for mold or fungal contamination extremely seriously. But what many business owners might not realize is that it is just as crucial to check for the presence of mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are the result of microbial contamination, most often resulting from the mold type aspergillus, according to True Labs Cannabis. Cannabis plants are most susceptible to microbial and therefore mycotoxin contamination in humid environments, where mold and fungi can grow and then release the harmful contaminants.

The most commonly found forms of mycotoxin are aflatoxins and ochratoxins, both of which are carcinogens and have other harmful health effects on humans. Certain government jurisdictions, like the state of New Jersey, require mycotoxin screening before products can be offered for sale at dispensaries.

Documentation Reports Custom Cones USA Maintains:

As the Pre-Roll Experts of the cannabis industry, we pride ourselves on offering products certified to be compliant in a wide range of locales. And if we can’t offer something? Rest assured, we will be tirelessly researching and developing new solutions.

Our standard available reports for rolling papers, hemp wraps, botanical wraps, as well as additional materials like glue and filter types are available by request. Just ask your Pre-Roll Expert for more information.

Why Cutting Corners Can Be Costly

Being fully compliant – or at least striving for 100% compliance, is important for all cannabis businesses, regardless of the locale of the establishment.

Especially in the United States, where cannabis laws are rapidly evolving and can be vastly different just beyond state lines, it’s crucial to follow proper compliance guidelines established by local authorities, as not doing so could be costly for you and your business!

Cutting corners may be tempting, but not following compliance laws to strict standards can lead to big problems, regardless of the size of the retailer or company.

Although laws vary from state to state and from locale to locale there are some common threads or issues that tend to be the biggest concerns of regulators– such as making sure cannabis products don’t end up in the hands of minors. Such prioritized concerns are likely to coordinate with higher punitive measures, which is something business owners might want to keep in mind when considering their products’ market readiness.

State by State Breakdown

The legality of cannabis and pre-roll items vary widely from state to state. Custom Cones USA is working hard to document ongoing cannabis compliance measures from state to state and will keep updating the US states’ regulations on an ongoing basis!

https://customconesusa.com/blog/alaska-cannabis-compliance-regulations-and-laws-for-businesses/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/california-cannabis-packaging-labeling-and-business-laws/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-massachusetts-state/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-nevada-state/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/new-jersey-cannabis-laws-for-cannabis-companies-and-businesses/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/new-mexico-legalization-and-cannabis-business-regulations/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-oklahoma-state/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-oregon-state/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-rhode-island/

https://customconesusa.com/blog/cannabis-packaging-and-labeling-washington-state/

COMPLIANCE REGARDING COMPONENTS

Here at Custom Cones USA, our goal is to ensure our cones test perfectly when paired with compliant products. Our rolling paper, filters, ink, and even our packaging materials are held to above-board standards for your peace of mind.

We test some of our pre-roll components separately as well as together, to ensure we are offering thoroughly compliant products in even the strictest of jurisdictions.

With all of our inks used on our printed papers, we ensure we are completely compliant in using only proven food-safe materials. Custom Cones USA can even provide statements from the FDA asserting the food safety of the ink used in our premium printed paper cones.

Custom Cones USA also works hard to ensure all our packaging components are food safe and ready for market. Our plastic and glass packaging items are certified food safe. And certain premium items – like our glass tubes – are naturally food safe by nature of their simple sand, soda ash, and limestone components.

We have various testing standards and documentation as well for our paper packaging options, such as reports testing for lead paint in our premium cigarette boxes.

Main Compliance Concerns in Packaging

Whether your state has regulations surrounding opacity or child resistance, we have the products you need and the documentation necessary to back them up.

CR reports:

If your state or locale requires child-resistant packaging, you may need to provide documentation of the CR testing results. Rest assured, our Pre-Roll Experts can help you get whatever you need or point you to some great CR options!

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) -

These Data Sheets are needed for some locales, as they confirm that any materials used in the production process that touch your product are safe for consumers.

Technical Drawings –

These documents not only diagram products but provide helpful information like dimensions or other technical information helpful to business owners.

Opacity –

Certain locales require packaging to be opaque, meaning consumers will not be able to see through the packaging. As an added bonus, more opaque packaging also doesn’t allow for light transmission, which could help further preserve the freshness of your product. Opacity is specified in Custom Cones USA’s product descriptions.

Tamper Evidence –

Some locales require tamper evidence-creating material to be applied to the outside of your packaging, which can be easily achieved using our custom shrink sleeves or through unbranded tamper evidence materials. For a premium pre-roll product, our airtight Super Seal packaging can’t be beat and also has a tamper-evident seal for your customers’ peace of mind.

Labeling Requirements –

While labeling requirements will vary from area to area, there are usually standards around the size and format of the label’s information, as well as what information should be conveyed. For example, you may need to convey the number of active cannabinoids in a product, harvest date, THC/CBD levels, and other information to remain compliant.

Note that compliance laws are changing all the time, so it might be a good idea to think ahead about acquiring CR packaging even if your state doesn’t require childproofing just yet, for example.

While there may be an overall trend toward states becoming more lenient in regulations as they move from medical to recreational cannabis sales, compliance standards can change at any time, and may see a complete overhaul in the event of federal legalization, etc.

Many states have overlapping policies, such as regulations surrounding items that could appeal to minors or could be made to look appealing to minors. There are also many considerations that, even if not required by many locales, like airtightness, create a better end product. Read on for more on regulations surrounding pre-roll packaging.

PACKAGING LAWS, TESTING, AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Child Resistance Considerations

Many markets have at least some degree of consideration for packaging when it comes to both access and appeal to those under age 18.

Like with many regulations, this can even vary state to state. Some locales only require packaging to be child-resistant, or CR, upon point-of-sale only.

Other states need packaging to be resealable to CR standards after opening– meaning that the package needs to be able to be child-resistant for the customer to open and close the package multiple times. For some locales, it is also sufficient to pair your cannabis packaged goods with a Mylar bag or other resealable solution.

Packaging considerations around minors and cannabis can also relate back to opacity requirements, as some states do not allow clear packaging under minor-related labeling requirements.

Most all cannabis markets will have extensive requirements regarding “Warning” labels and icons to indicate that there is an Adult Use product with unknown health risks inside the packaging. Further, a warning against pregnant women using cannabis products is also usually needed.

Finally, overall branding and packaging considerations should not appeal to minors. Though the specifications for what falls under this might vary from jurisdiction, typically this discourages the use of cartoon-character-like figures to promote or sell any marijuana products, and also prohibits the amorphization of cannabis leaves or other child-inappropriate substances on packaging or branding.

Tamper-Evidence Packaging

Some markets require tamper evidence creating seals to be placed on pre-roll packaging and other cannabis and CBD products, and this can be achieved in a multitude of ways.

Some brands opt for strategically placed stickers or neck bands to create tamper-evident packaging. But you can also choose to get your branding and tamper evidence handled in one go through custom-designed shrink sleeves or other creative solutions!

Our Super Seal packaging offers tamper-evidence and child-resistance in one convenient offering, and come in lots of stock options ready to put your pre-rolls in!

Airtightness Considerations

While there may not be specific compliance rules about packaging being airtight, it should still be a consideration for any pre-roll brand wanting to put out a quality product. Not having air-tight packaging can cause moisture to be introduced to the product, and could even result in growing mildew or mold if left in a humid environment, which can ruin the product and even cause further issues if it makes its way to consumers.

BIODEGRADABLE MATERIALS AND OUR ECO-FUTURE

As sustainability becomes an increased focus for consumers, it should become more of a focus for businesses looking to fill the demand for more eco-friendly products and packaging. Especially for a product like pre-rolls, which produces single-use packaging, biodegradable materials like our home compostable and child-resistant Ecoline pop-top tubes are a great option to provide eco-conscious customers with a more guilt-free smoke session!

Currently, biodegradability or recyclability are not a compliance consideration in nearly any market– but that doesn’t mean this won’t be the case in the future!

In the United States, for example, Vermont does not allow plastic packaging for use with cannabis products, and New Mexico requires compostable, recyclable, or recycled materials to be used. New Jersey states that cannabis companies should, in “good faith,” use bio-degradable packaging.

Bottom Line: Why should you trust us?

Custom Cones USA is trusted in the cannabis industry for our reliability in providing compliant supply and packaging options, as well as industry-leading pre-roll production machines and solutions. We also keep top-notch documentation, making it easy for you to keep your business above board.

Compliance might seem like an intimidating concept, but with the Pre-Roll experts at Custom Cones USA on your side, it doesn’t have to be anymore! Whether you’re unsure if you need opaque doob tubes or if your state requires tamper-evidence packaging, we are here to support you and your business!

Check out our top trending, compliant packaging options below– and read up on more compliance topics on the Custom Cones USA blog!

Custom Cones USA is committed to providing outstanding service and top-industry knowledge to our customers! That being said, the information contained on this page and the entire Custom Cones USA site and any sister sites existing currently or in the future is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or even professional counsel. Custom Cones USA holds no responsibility for actions taken as a result of our blog posts, videos, social media shares, or any other content.