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Custom Edible Product Labels for Your Cannabis Brand

Custom Edible Product Labels for Your Cannabis Brand

Over the past few years, cannabis has been one of the hottest emerging markets to start a business in. As medical and adult-use recreational legalization has spread to more states and all of Canada, there have been exciting opportunities to open a new company.

One of the forces powering the rapid rise of cannabis has been the increasing spread of edibles. These items, whether they take the form of snacks, candies, beverages or other consumables, open up new possibilities for dispensaries. Potential customers who don't consider themselves smokers could be interested in trying a cannabis-infused food product.

Of course, to tap into the promising edibles market, there are a host of laws to contend with. The packaging for these items must be compliant with state regulations, which leads to a very specific custom label challenge. If your cannabis business is going to succeed in the long term, you'll need to produce a special class of custom food labels combining legal obligation with shelf appeal.

How Can You Comply with Cannabis Labeling Law?

Unfortunately for entrepreneurs just starting in the cannabis field, there is no universal labeling law for custom edible product labels. This is due to the patchwork nature of U.S. legalization, and the fact that the states are each operating independently of the federal government. While warning labels remain important, each state has its unique format for them.

The Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation pointed to "the great patchwork of inconsistent packaging and labeling rules across legal cannabis states," while urging authorities to become more uniform in their requirements. For the moment, the differences are simply something cannabis distributors in the U.S. will have to acknowledge as they get into compliance with their own states' laws.

To get a sense of the legal obligations facing producers and distributors, it can pay to look at the rules in one state with a longstanding cannabis sector.

Example: California

California's regulations for cannabis food product labeling split the difference between more standard food packaging and highly regulated cannabis requirements. Just as with standard food and beverage labels, producers need to mention the net weight and list ingredients and allergens alongside sodium, sugar, carbohydrates and fat per serving. If there are artificial colorings, that must be noted, and the packaging must state if an item needs to be refrigerated.

When it comes to cannabis-specific rules, the package must contain the manufacturer name and contact information as it appears on the company's official license. The food label also needs to include the state government's warning text about the risks around cannabis use in bold text, along with the batch number, unique tracking ID and date of packing.

Edible food product packaging also needs to obey other rules designed to make sure the food doesn't appeal to children. This legal requirement restricts the kinds of images brands can use on their cannabis-infused food labels. Cartoons are banned, as are graphics that copy the style of candy. Even the word "candy" is forbidden, along with misspellings and alternatives.

Edibles have to be in opaque packages, and their custom labels can't even have pictures of the items on them. These strict rules for cannabis safety labels are all designed around the same central concept: regulators don't want kids trying these items, whether on purpose or accidentally.

How Do Brands Design High-Quality Custom Edible Product Labels?

Working within such a strict regulatory framework, it may at first seem pointless to try and design better cannabis labels. After all, when so many design features are forbidden, it's tempting to assume anything will suffice.

With that said, quality still matters. A brand with well-produced labels can appear more professional, trustworthy and reliable than competitors. Even if the amount of imagery allowed on labels is severely restricted, brands' names and logos should still be printed in high resolution, looking bold and vibrant.

Food product labels should also be made out of strong materials, further contributing to the feeling of product quality and professionalism. Since product labels are such a cornerstone of legal compliance, they represent a chance for a producer to put its best foot forward with state authorities. It pays to use labels that are printed clearly and made to last.

Working with an experienced food product label partner on cannabis labels is a way to unlock this level of quality and reliability. This producer should be adaptable, because regulations may change relatively quickly, forcing the business to redesign its custom food labels.

What Special Features Define Great Cannabis Labels?

While the exact needs around cannabis labels may differ by state, there are a few options that may perfectly suit dispensaries' needs, including:

  • Barcodes and QR codes: There is increasing interest in tracking information via barcodes, whether the traditional one-dimensional type or more advanced options such as the 2D QR code. With these codes becoming more popular among regulators, producers should have a reliable way to generate and print bar code labels for cannabis products.
  • Blank/variable spaces: Some cannabis items have to be labeled when they're packaged or given individual batch numbers. Therefore, it can be essential for dispensaries to order partially or entirely blank labels and print the variable information themselves.
  • Flexibility and toughness: Numerous edible cannabis products come in soft pouches, which means the custom stickers and labels associated with them should be able to keep their integrity even when they bend.

Producers, distributors and sellers should make a constant effort to ensure all their labels have the features they need for clear and compliant labeling. To stay competitive, they have to make sure their items can meet requirements and stay on store shelves.

How Do You Find Your Ideal Custom Label Partner?

Working with Lightning Labels is a way for your cannabis business to gain the benefit of 20 years of labeling experience. Lightning Labels works with businesses across industries and regions, and has been serving cannabis companies since the earliest days of legalization.

Whether you need reliably tough blank labels for in-house variable printing, mass-produced roll labels that bear your brand's information or anything in between, Lightning Labels is your ideal food label printing partner. Equipped with all-digital printing technology, Lightning Labels delivers fast turnarounds, flexible order sizes and top-notch customer service for any and all types of custom printed labels.

Request a free quote today!