New Jersey Recreational: How to Buy Compliant Packaging

On December 17th, 2020, the New Jersey legislature enacted the “New Jersey Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act,” which sets forth rules and regulations that will govern New Jersey’s recently approved recreational cannabis market. We are here to analyze the packaging regulations and help keep you compliant. Unlike Missouri, New Jersey has an existing medical marijuana program. Readers are cautioned to be sure that they are reading new recreational rules when doing research, as the rules may vary from the existing medical program.

As with many states, New Jersey’s regulations on packaging fall into three categories:

  1. Required Language,
  2. Design Prohibitions, and
  3. Technical Requirements

As we did with Montana, let’s check them out one by one.

 

Required Language

The “Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act” has a number of required warnings that must appear on all cannabis products. New Jersey’s required warnings mirror warnings required in a majority of programs including Arizona. Required warnings in New Jersey include one or more of the following statements:

  • “This product contains cannabis,”;
  • “This product is infused with cannabis”
  • “This product is intended for use by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of reach of children”;
  • “The intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by two or more hours”;
  • “There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product, including for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant”; and
  • “Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery while using cannabis.”

In addition to these warnings, New Jersey requires weight information, expiration and production dates, ingredient lists, and similar information related to product information.

 

Design Prohibitions

The new recreational marijuana law in New Jersey contains “the usual suspects” when it comes to designs that are prohibited. First, there is a broad requirement to prevent the marketing of cannabis items and paraphernalia to people under the legal age to purchase cannabis items. This is followed with a more specific regulation that mandates that no edible cannabis items are allowed to be produced, marketed, or sold in the shape of, or a bearing the likeness or characteristics of, a realistic or fictional human, animal, or fruit, or part thereof, including artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings. Additionally, New Jersey sets forth a list of prohibitions that cannabis items may not be packaged using any statement, illustration, or image that:

  • Includes false, deceptive, or misleading statements;
  • Promotes over-consumption;
  • Depicts a child or other person under legal age consuming cannabis items; or
  • Includes objects, such as toys, characters, or cartoon characters suggesting the presence of a person under the legal age to purchase cannabis items, or any other depiction design in any manner to be especially appealing to persons under legal age. 

If you were planning on using cartoons to market your marijuana products to children, it looks like New Jersey is not the state for you!

 

Technical Requirements

The new law in New Jersey has technical requirements for the packaging that products may be sold in. It is important to note that these requirements MAY NOT be satisfied by an exit-package. First, the product must be sold in an opaque package so that it may not be viewed. Secondly, the package must be child-resistant “special packaging.” Child-resistant is defined as being designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly. The New Jersey legislature makes an explicit mention of the Federal standard and includes language that products are to be packaged in accordance with the infamous “Poison Prevention Act of 1970.” New Jersey operators should look for a CR certificate from packaging providers.

Overall, pretty strict regulations as to be expected from an East Coast cannabis program. Please visit the complete New Jersey rules here. Additionally, you should note that there will be more regulations promulgated relating to recreational marijuana packaging in New Jersey.