medical marijuana labeling and info: get it right the first time!

“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*

*This product is not meant to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA”

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, the cannabis industry seems to be following much of the same path.

Don’t believe me? The FDA issued a nationwide warning to cannabis-derived products claiming to treat cancer.

Why in the hell did these companies think they could get away with these claims?

Who knows.

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.

Stop Labeling Your Products with Buzzwords!

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?

  • Natural,
  • Non-GMO,
  • High-Grade,
  • Healthy,
  • Organic,
  • Gluten-Free,
  • etc.

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.

Cannabis Labeling: Get It Right the First Time

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:

  • The THC content and CBD content for the package in its entirety, expressed in milligrams per package
  • The THC content and CBD content per serving, expressed in milligrams per serving
  • The content of other cannabinoids or terpenes per serving (if such information is verified by a licensed testing laboratory)
  • The names of any artificial food colorings contained in the product
  • Instructions for use, such as the method of consumption or application

Also, they cannot include:

  • False labeling information
  • Claims of health benefits or other physical benefits

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!

With Legalization Getting Closer, It’s up to Us to Label Accurately!

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 total weight of the edible food product, and
  • A warning from the Arizona Department of Health Services

Seriously!?

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:

  • Solvent-Free
  • All-Natural
  • Uncut
  • Pure
  • CO2 Extracted

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.)

  • We don’t want chemicals/solvents in our vape pens
  • We hate companies that hide artificial ingredients behind a “natural” label
  • We don’t appreciate being lied to, and we will actively seek out companies that value our health.

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.

Nick Abell is the author/creative director of ServingRealness.com, a vegan lifestyle blog dedicated to his love of cooking. He is also the Technical Director and Co-Contributor of JustAnotherJay.com


Nick Abell is the author/creative director of ServingRealness.com, a vegan lifestyle blog dedicated to his love of cooking. He is also the Technical Director and Co-Contributor of JustAnotherJay.com

Check us out on Instagram!

facebook instagram pinterest