Marijuana Packaging in California: What You Need to Know

cannabis in hand held over California marijuana packaging requirements
Editorial Credit: By InFootage/

Near the end of 2017, new marijuana packaging laws were introduced in California, affecting manufacturers and all medical – and yet-to-open recreational – dispensaries in the state. The new procedures prompted industry experts to overhaul their entire systems for displaying and selling cannabis to consumers. They needed to implement safer packaging and processes. The new requirements came into effect July 1 this year.

Gone are the days of large, glass jars filled to the brim with flower, the scent of terpenes, and hand-selected, quality bud. Now, – unlike in other states like Colorado, where packaging laws are a little more lax – all cannabis products in California must be prepackaged before they even hit dispensary shelves, said Sales Manager Robert Duarte.

three child-resistant marijuana packaging containers in three colors - blue, green, and red

In the last few years, cannabis container companies, like, have seen an increase in sales as manufacturers in California and across the country endeavor to distinguish their own, individual look from the crowd.

"There's been an uptick in customer demand for customized branding, too," said Cesar Muro, Project Coordinator for "For a long time, it was more of a 'nice-to-have', but I think manufacturers know now that customized branding is essential for the future of their business."

Expert branding knowledge is necessary. The shape and colors of marijuana packaging cannot appeal to children – no cartoons, minimal flashy colors.

"We've made it our business to make sure that all their branding and labeling fits the requirements moving forward. It's a lot to figure out so we try to take some of the burden on," Muro said.

Table of Contents

Packaging Checklist Provided by the California Department of Public Health

California Marijuana Packaging Safety Requirements

child-resistant marijuana packaging container

  • Most of the new regulations are geared toward child safety. Now, all products must be sealed in two layers of certified child-resistant packaging. The packages must meet protection standards outlined by the federal Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970.
  • Edibles must now be prepackaged in opaque containers.
  • Packages must be "tamper-evident". The consumer will know if the product has been opened by a broken seal or torn sticker across the lid.
  • Products with multiple servings in one container must be resealable.

"The state wants to protect the consumers," said Marketing Manager Brittny Peloquin. "It's a whole new world, and transparency from the get-go is a benefit that we'll have. It's historical. But brands and packaging are part of an entire experience that consumers have demanded time and time again. Buying habits prove that they want a variety of experiences with product containers, not just the product itself."

Luckily, marijuana packaging regulations in California are not nearly as strict as in other places, like Canada.

"On one hand, they're about to let the whole country have access to cannabis recreationally. On the other, their packaging restrictions are so tight that brands can barely include a logo on a package," Peloquin said.

How Do California's Marijuana Packaging Changes Affect You?

older person opens child-resistant marijuana packaging container

As a consumer, you might want to find a favorite budtender – someone you can trust to know the details behind the products you prefer. Relationships between customers and budtenders are more important than ever in California. These relationships will help you overcome the new marijuana packaging regulations. Since you are no longer able to choose products based on aspects like smell and touch, you'll have to rely on budtenders for their expert opinions. Because of this, budtenders should get to know their customers' preferences and be ready to deliver in-depth, trustworthy, accurate information about the quality of strains, taste, and their terpene profiles.

You might also have a more difficult time choosing a brand you're aesthetically drawn to. Make sure you look for brands that have invested in quality branding – they have most likely invested in their products, as well.

So, How Will Marijuana Packaging Laws Change in the Future?

In a dynamic, growing industry, like cannabis, regulations are updated and improved frequently. Over the next 18 months or so, researchers expect California's marijuana packaging laws will evolve. is a proud partner of Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc.