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New York Recreational: How to Buy Compliant Packaging

New York: How to Buy Compliant Packaging


Over the last few weeks, the New York legislature got its act together and quickly enacted a bill that will create an adult-use market in Empire State. 12 hours later, the bill was already signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) sets forth rules and regulations that will govern New York’s recently approved recreational cannabis market.


We are ready to dive into the fun stuff…the packaging regulations in New York! We are here to analyze the packaging regulations and help keep you compliant. Unlike Missouri, New York has an existing medical marijuana program, if you want to call it a program. New York’s recent actions mark the first time the state is actually making an effort to setup a robust marketplace for cannabis.


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. Further, there will be plenty more regulations to come as the Act specifically directs New York agencies to do so.


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


  • Required Language,
  • Design Prohibitions, and
  • Technical Requirements


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


Required Language


The MRTA has a number of required warnings that must appear on all cannabis products, although all required warnings are not enumerated as the statute empowers the agency to create the specific language. However, it is very safe to assume that New York will require the usual suspects included in a majority of programs like Arizona. Required warnings in New York will likely include the following:

  • A warning that the product contains cannabis
  • Any required health warnings that the agency decides to include
  • A warning that the product is intended for use by adults 21 and over, in addition to being kept out of reach of children
  • A statement making clear that the intoxicating effects of the product may be delayed by two or more hours
  • A health warning specific to women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant.
  • A cautionary statement to not drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery while using cannabis


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



Design Prohibitions


The new recreational marijuana law in New York 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 to people under the legal age to purchase cannabis items. This broad regulation prohibits labeling, packaging, shapes, and art that are attractive to minors. Usually, we see this regulation specifically take a form that mandates 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.


I certainly expect to see prohibitions in New York, similar to the list set forth in New Jersey, 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; or
  • Promote products to a class that it is determined particularly vulnerable to adverse health consequences.



Technical Requirements


The new law in New York 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 and must also be resealable.


First, the product must be resealable. 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 York 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 York operators should look for a CR certificate from packaging providers.


Please visit the full text of the bill here. Additionally, you should note that there will be more regulations promulgated relating to recreational marijuana packaging in New York.

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