AB 1207, the Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Act, would have made significant changes to cannabis packaging in California. The bill was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2023, but it is worth discussing what the bill would have done if it had been signed into law.
Here are some of the key provisions of AB 1207 that would have affected cannabis packaging in California:
- Prohibition of child-attractive packaging: The bill would have prohibited the sale or manufacture of cannabis or cannabis products in packaging that is “attractive to children.” This would have included packaging that uses bright colors, cartoon characters, or other features that could appeal to children.
- Ban on flavorings: The bill would have prohibited the use of any artificial, synthetic, or natural flavorings in cannabis or cannabis products intended for smoking or combustion. This would have included flavored vape cartridges, edibles, and pre-rolls.
- Specific requirements for edible packaging: The bill would have required edible cannabis products to be composed only of physically separated individual doses and that beverages not exceed one dose per container.
- Emergency regulations: The bill would have required the Department of Cannabis Control to adopt emergency regulations to implement its provisions.
These provisions would have had a significant impact on the cannabis industry in California. Cannabis businesses would have had to redesign their packaging and labels to comply with the new requirements. This would have been a costly and time-consuming process for many businesses.
The cannabis industry opposed AB 1207, arguing that it was too restrictive and would have made it difficult for businesses to compete. Industry representatives also argued that the bill was not necessary, as California already has strong regulations in place to protect children from exposure to cannabis.
Governor Newsom agreed with the cannabis industry, and he vetoed AB 1207 in his veto statement, he wrote:
“AB 1207 is an overly broad and burdensome bill that would have unintended consequences for California’s cannabis industry and consumers. The bill’s definition of ‘attractive to children’ is so vague that it could have been interpreted to include a wide range of cannabis packaging, even packaging that is not inherently appealing to children. Additionally, the bill’s ban on flavorings would have eliminated a popular and safe way for consumers to consume cannabis.”
While AB 1207 was vetoed, it is possible that similar legislation could be introduced in the future. Cannabis businesses should be aware of the potential for changes to cannabis packaging regulations and be prepared to adapt accordingly.