Scalable Strategies To Ensure Label Compliance For CBD And Cannabis Packaging

Arjita

Business head
December 3, 2021

Complicated Cannabis packaging laws causing confusion and product recalls? Here are some scalable strategies to ensure label compliance for CBD and Cannabis Packaging.

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There are a lot of complexities surrounding the labeling of CBD and Cannabis products. That’s why we asked  Orna, a regulatory professional, to break down the compliance black box and reveal how you can reduce compliance risks while standing out in the CBD space. 

Here are the topics she covers:  

  1. Difference Between CBD (Hemp) And Delta-9 THC (Cannabis)
  2. Regulations Designed To Protect Consumers
  3. Product Mislabeling
  4. Building A Compliant organization
  5. Conclusion

Let’s start with clearing the confusion between Hemp and Cannabis products. 

Difference Between CBD (Hemp) And Delta-9 THC (Cannabis)

Hemp and Cannabis are derived from plants of the same species with different genetic combinations. 

While Hemp contains higher levels of cannabinoids that produce positive physiological effects like pain reduction, Cannabis contains a psychoactive compound called THC that induces a high state. Since the former doesn’t contain psychoactive compounds, it’s regulated by Federal agencies like the FDA and the FTC. 

Here’s a table showing other notable differences between Hemp and Cannabis. 

Difference Between CBD (Hemp) And Delta-9 THC (Cannabis)

Regulations Designed To Protect Consumers

Cannabis products are regulated at the State and Federal levels to prevent brands from misleading consumers. And although the regulations at the State and Federal levels are different, there are also a few similarities. 

Here’s a list of common regulations you should follow on your cannabis packaging regardless of the state you’re in. 

1. Outer Container Material And Security: All CBD product containers must come in child-resistance packages, so children don’t tamper with the product and accidentally ingest it. 

2. Brand Logo and Package Design: Since there aren’t enough studies on CBD potency, labeling regulations are tight to prevent misinformation on labels.
So, if you want to avoid your CBD product from being labeled as misbranded, you must include the Product Name, Manufacturer’s Address, Ingredients, etc., on the packaging label. 

For a more comprehensive list of labeling guidelines, check out our FDA labeling guide for CBD products. 

3. Health warnings: Your labels should include standard health warnings for children and women and state that users may fail a drug test if they use hemp products. 

4. Regulatory Requirements: FDA’s regulations aren’t limited to labeling CBD products. It also has regulations for cannabis research, data collection and submission, and the drug approval process. 

If you’d like to read more about these requirements, check out FDA’s CBD Regulations Guide.

5. False Claims: CBD products shouldn’t be labeled “Dietary Supplements” or claim to cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease as the research surrounding this area is sparse. 

6. Warning Symbols: You must include state-specific icons on your label to avoid penalties. 

7. Batch-Specific Laboratory Testing Results: It’s mandatory to include a batch code on your CBD products to help consumers learn important information like expiry date, serving size, etc. (For more information on batch codes, check out our CBD labeling guide. )

State labeling Regulations 

Since no two states have the same labeling regulations, expanding your product geographically can be a challenge. For example, Bettie’s Eddies manufactures CBD edibles that’ll help their consumers get a good night’s sleep. 

Their packages have images representing the fruit flavor, but this representation isn’t allowed in all states. 

Another example is Seaweed Co’s dispensary logo. The state of Maine felt that the logo might attract minors as it had a mermaid’s picture and asked the company to rebrand the product. 

Rebranding, recalls, and other penalties will result in losses for your business. That’s why it’s important to stay updated with state regulations and adhere to them. 

Product Mislabeling

More than 70% of product recalls in Canada are caused due to mislabeling. And most of them resulted from inaccurate testing, which led to a huge variance between the actual and printed THC values in the product. 

Product Mislabeling

A similar study in the US also found that more than 50% of products were mislabeled due to inaccurate test results. 

And this led to the FDA developing a sample test methodology for CBD manufacturers as product recalls are expensive and bring down the trust and reputation of a brand.  

USA CBD Products Mislabeled Rate


Building A Compliant Organization

Now you know the consequences of mislabeling a product, let’s see how to make your organization compliant. 

Documentation

Creating a process and documenting it is the first step towards a compliant organization as it helps build standardized systems everyone can follow. 

It’s also very simple as it only involves creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and checklists that help train your team and adopt a culture of compliance.

Stakeholders and Workflow

Once you’ve established a process using the documentation process above, create a workflow and assign responsibilities to various stakeholders. 

This keeps your team accountable and validates the inputs and outputs at each step, thus reducing errors. 

For example, mislabeling occurs because of errors in the manufacturing process, and it can be prevented if the stakeholder double-checks test results. 

Stakeholders and Workflow

After setting up documentation and creating an optimized workflow, here’s how you can ensure that it’s scalable.

  1. Version control: Your stakeholders should be able to readily point to the current artwork version easily. This shows that there’s no confusion and great accountability in the process.
  2. Flexible Workflows: It’s important to create flexible workflows to improve collaboration between teams and reduce compliance errors.
  3. Audit Trail: Audit trails make tracking errors, and stakeholders easy as each stage of the workflow would involve an e-signature and show you which documents were created and uploaded by whom. 
  4. Access Control: When only relevant stakeholders access the artwork, it prevents unnecessary edits and confusion.
  5. Annotate: A scalable system should allow you to add comments within the artwork and view the changes being made so you can check the artwork’s progress.
  6. Asset Management: Version control and asset management go hand-in-hand to help you access all artworks in one place, so you don’t have to search attachments or GDrive for a specific version.
  7. Proofing Tools: Since state and federal regulations require that you adhere to a specific font size and style, your system should have a proofing tool that helps you catch compliance errors. 

When you’re just starting out, software like Excel and Asana may help you manage artworks and maintain an audit trail. 

But if you’re scaling from 6 artwork to 600 or even 60, you’ll need a dedicated tool like Artwork flow that helps you compare artwork versions, give access to the right stakeholders, maintain accountability, and stay compliant. 

So, sign up for a FREE trial today to discover how we ease all the chaos surrounding your artwork process and help you stay compliant. 


Conclusion

Packaging and labeling errors compromise your consumers’ safety and result in hefty fines and legal actions. That’s why you need to set up a system, document the process, and create workflows. 

Although software like Excel and project management tools like Asana help you in the short term, they’re not enough to manage the sheer volume of artwork your brand might produce. 

So, it’s wise to invest in an label design software like Artwork Flow that’s dedicated to helping you stay compliant and preventing mishaps like product recalls. 

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