New York state’s Office of Cannabis Management has released draft regulations for labeling and packaging cannabis that may appear restrictive, complex and surprising — and that will likely spark vigorous debate during the 60-day review period that begins June 1.

Under the proposed regulations now before the Cannabis Control Board, compliance with cannabis labeling and packaging precludes many traditional means of labeling and promotion. It’s more than just not co-opting celebrity images on your billboard. In fact, billboards are among the forbidden promotional vehicles in New York state.

Highlights of the regulations include:

  • Packaging must list in bold total mgs of THC per serving and per package
  • Packaging must list any solvent used
  • Packaging must have a QR code linking certificate of analysis
  • Packaging must be child-resistant, fully-enclosed and tamper-evident
  • Packaging must not contain images or graphics other than the standard required by the office
  • Labeling must avoid colloquial references to cannabis such as “stoner,” “chronic,” “weed or “pot”
  • There should be no mention of price, customer loyalty programs, reward programs or coupons
  • Using the term “organic” is not permitted
  • There should be no obscenities, indecent statements, or disparagement of others’ business
  • Anything appealing to those under 21 — bubble letters, cartoon fonts, neon colors, use of terms like “candy” – is prohibited

The Cannabis Industry Team will continue to monitor compliance for packaging, labeling and promotion of cannabis. Stay connected to our team for critical developments.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.