Missouri Cannabis Packaging: How to Stay Compliant
Missouri cannabis has entered its second stage of legalization: recreational. When a market expands reaches this stage, a lot more people start buying cannabis. This increases the likelihood of mishandling and inappropriate contact, which is why Missouri cannabis packaging rules are currently under review. Below is the latest packaging information provided by the state in the form of new emergency and proposed rules. These Missouri recreational cannabis packaging rules were filed on Jan. 20, 2023. They went into effect on Feb. 3 and are set to expire on Aug. 1, 2023.
If you’ve been following the evolving Missouri cannabis laws, you will notice a difference between draft rules, which required heavy restrictions on packaging for cannabis products, and emergency rules, which lightened the industry burden. For now, current operators will be able to continue using current packaging and existing supplies without any interruption or additional changes needed. It is important to note, however, that the proposed rules include increased restrictions on colors and logo size.
Lisa Cox, Communications Director at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, noted, “The draft packaging regulations respond to the language in Article XIV that requires the Department to address public health and appeal to children in packaging and labeling regulations. Limitations on colors and graphics are common strategies for ensuring packaging is not appealing to children and that the focus of packaging remains on the public health information, such as warnings and testing results. Uniform packaging is also a key practice used to protect public health and to ensure consistent and fair application of regulations.”
Proposed rules surrounding packaging, labeling and product design are as follows:
- Does not appeal to children. This included no design using the shape of a human, animal or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature or cartoon renderings.
- No manufacturing, packaging or labeling in a false or misleading manner. For example, inaccurately representing product ingredients.
- No designs in product or packaging which appear similar to any commercially similar product not containing cannabis.
- All packaging to be resealable, opaque and certified as child resistant.
- All packaging shall be constructed from FDA-approved food contact substances.
- All packaging, including exit packaging, may only display a single color, a product name, text indicating sativa, indica or a hybrid, and up to two logos or symbols of a different color or colors, whether images or text, including brand logos, provided the logos or symbols are no larger than two inches in length and two inches in height.
Proposed fines for violations are up to $5,000 for each product/packaging category, identified by approval number, in which a requirement is violated. These proposed rules are open to public comment, and changes may be made. However, operators will operate under the emergency rule requirements until August. Officials believe recreational sales in Missouri will begin on February 6, as that date is when the state must approve or deny the applications for the 97% of medicinal cannabis dispensaries that requested to expand their licenses to allow for recreational sales.
One concern about upcoming rulings on Missouri recreational cannabis packaging lies within a staff change that became effective Feb. 1. Lyndall Fraker, who has been the director of the state’s cannabis regulation division since 2018, retired from the position. The Department of Health and Senior Services oversees the Division of Cannabis Regulation and has not yet appointed a permanent director, per Lisa Cox, communications director. Deputy Director Amy Moore, who is also the medical marijuana counsel for the state, is currently serving as the interim director.
The good news in Missouri cannabis laws? Cannabis businesses will be able to deduct business expenses on their state taxes in 2023. Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis City NAACP chapter, said the change will especially benefit small cannabis businesses during the first years of operation. “In those early years, businesses need to do their best to break even or try to make a return on their investment and be profitable,” he said. “So those who have the ability to have those business expenses deducted to increase their bottom line — just like it is for any other business — is important.”
Cannabis laws in Missouri have packaging in their sights, and with a deadline at the end of August, any stipulation has potential to be added to the permanent ruling. As a business owner, it’s best not to risk being out of compliance and wasting precious dollars. Instead, trust HiSierra now. We develop and manufacture earth-friendly, American-made cannabis packaging solutions. Our goal is to make the cannabis world a greener place by providing products to enhance your brand’s eco-friendly messaging and preserve products with certified safe and child-resistant packaging solutions. Contact HiSierra to discuss your Missouri recreational cannabis packaging needs!