“Vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, organic, free range, all-natural.” If you haven’t noticed, supplement labels are a mess of non-regulated buzzwords. With marijuana legalization looming nearer and nearer, should we be worried about the same?
For starters, I want to clarify something:
I worked in the nutrition and supplement industry for 5 years.
That being said, I was one of the most skeptical individuals when it came to supplement labeling.
“Cures everything under the sun. Gout, eczema, gonorrhea, and acne*
Unfortunately, the cannabis industry seems to be following much of the same path.
Why in the hell did these companies think they could get away with these claims?
The cannabis industry is one of the heaviest-scrutinized industries to date. Why would you try to pull a fast one on the FDA? Sounds like an easy way to have your product banned from the US.
First, let’s define a buzzword as:
a word or phrase that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context.
What does this include?
Now, don’t get me wrong! I fully support transparent labeling.
Is something vegan? Label it so. If something was made gluten-free for your customers, label it so.
If you’re selling water and labeling it as “Gluten-Free”, you’re using a buzzword. There was never gluten in the water, don’t try to cash in on the movement.
That being said, the term “Natural” has no legal definition. Any company can throw it on a box and cash in on misinformed (and trusting) customers.
Don’t get caught in the bullshit!
Know your companies, know your ingredients, and if you don’t know; ASK!
The more companies know we’re paying attention, the more change we can achieve.
Are you listening, cannabis companies!?
We are paying attention. We loathe being deceived, and we will not support a brand that participates in the deceit.
If you want a glimpse into top-notch labeling, take a look at California.
They require cannabis products to label:
Also, they cannot include:
Best of all, all edible packages must be resealable if the package contains more than one serving. This ensures that child-resistance is maintained throughout the life of the package.
Great job, California!
Now, I live in Arizona. We were the only state to vote on recreational and not have it pass.
It’s definitely a bummer, but honestly, we weren’t ready.
Even with just MMJ, our labeling is a mess. I see products with THC listed, but no other nutritional information labeled.
How would this have fared with full recreational legalization? Horribly.
Why do I think so?
The only thing Arizona requires on MMJ labels is:
The cannabis industry already has the stigma of being a “black-market”, “shady” business. Why would we prove customers (and the government) right by cutting corners?
Unfortunately, Arizona state isn’t going to regulate anytime soon. It’s up to our local cannabis companies to step up and label accurately and proactively. It’s up to you to raise the bar for all others.
We need legal protection from companies falsely using terms like:
The reason I’m so big on this is because: a labeling problem is a product quality problem.
As of now, we are a health industry. Being so, I expect our cannabis products to promote health. (Not cutting corners with a cheap/compromised product.)
Until then, it’s up to us as consumers to use our purchasing power and shape the future we want. I, for one, want a future where cannabis finally removes it’s cloak of secrecy and allows full transparency throughout the industry.