The Top Ways Edible Regulations Vary Across the Country and Why You Need to Know

Edibles are quickly gaining steam as one the most popular categories of cannabis goods. In fact, in 2020 there was a 22% edible sales increase recorded by the popular delivery service Eaze. But, let’s not forget edibles are still highly debated amongst non-consumer groups for their potent nature, and allure or confusion for children. Which means, edibles are highly regulated to ensure safe use. 

What you may not know, is these edible regulations aren’t equal across the board. From state-to-state, compliance requirements for edible manufacturing differ. These differences make the sales and distribution of edibles that much more complex for cannabis business operators. To keep you in the know, let’s dive deep into the latest edible regulations today, and how they vary across the US. 

Today’s Edibles Industry

We’ve all heard the dreaded horror stories of over-consuming edibles, and the potent experiences that can come from it. So, as legalization spreads – regulators are doing all that they can to ensure THC limits for edibles stay within the appropriate limit. Like packaging being highly regulated to keep edibles out of the hands of those who shouldn’t consume them – including those under the age of 18. This is especially key, as some data points to Poison Center Control calls and emergency room visits increasing, with marijuana legalization.

Now, edibles across the country are regulated for their shape, size, color, contents, labeling, and child-proof packages. However, what convolutes the already complex regulations is no state has the same requirements as another. With 34 states that have active medical or adult-use marijuana markets, and reform in progress for federal legalization – the need for consistent edibles regulations has never been higher.

How Edibles Regulation Varies

Next, let’s take a simplified look at the most common edible regulations and the states who vary in exact requirements. 

  • THC Limits – No surprise here, THC limits are highly regulated to ensure patients or consumers don’t overdo their personal doses. Most states limit packages to 50-100 MG, or 5-10 MG per serving. Including Michigan, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington who all have adult-use or recreational programs. 
  • Lab Testing – With a license to sell edibles in Michigan, you must also third-party lab test all products and ensure they’re shelf-stable or non-perishable. The state also requires that all types of edibles have a use-by or expiration date, for when the product is no longer ‘optimally fresh’. Lab testing of edibles is one of the most consistent regulations across the US for compliance, although exact requirements do still vary from state-to-state. Beyond quantifying THC levels with lab testing, edibles also undergo rigorous tests to guarantee they’re free of aspergillus, pesticides and other pathogens that can cause food-borne disease. 
  • Product Names & Shapes – To avoid the capturing of children’s attention, product names and even shapes, and colors are regulated for edibles in almost every state. For example, in Michigan, ‘lollipops’ are now ‘Lozenges on a Stick’. In Washington, edible shapes are restricted to pre-approved shapes like squares, rectangles, circles, pentagons and others. Washington, along with Arizona and Massachusetts also don’t allow edible shapes of fruits, animals, cartoon characters, or people to avoid the targeting of minors. 
  • Refrigeration – A more specific requirement put on edibles by the State of Michigan, is no edible that requires refrigeration can be sold. 
  • Packaging – Almost every state with a legalized medical or recreational market requires child-proof packaging for edibles to go to sale. With the exception of Arizona, Florida, and New Jersey. Beyond, states like Washington even limit the colors that can be used for edibles packaging. Restricting edible manufacturers to using just 16 pre-approved colors, and only up to 3 additional accent colors

While most states are quite similar in cannabis compliance for edibles, others have gone somewhat rogue. Like, the state of Alaska. Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board recently reviewed a proposal change to update THC limits from 5 MG per serving to 10 MG. Bringing the package limit to 100 MG, or with their 20% allowable margin of error – 120 MG in some cases.  

All in all, as the country moves towards federal legalization, the desire and need for more standardized regulations for types of edibles is becoming more apparent. For now, industry experts continue to collect data in new and emerging markets to properly analyze consumer behavior, and safety while taking the public’s opinion into account. In the case of Alaska, the recent edible regulation proposal gained more public interest than any other regulation prior – with 85% in favor of raising the limits. 

Staying Ahead Regulations for Success

As edible sales are expected to reach $4.1 billion by 2022, the proverbial piece of the pie is there for the taking. So, cannabis business owners should be aware of edibles education, and the growing sector. To appropriately do what they can to protect and advocate for the growth of the industry and their individual operations. That includes staying in-tune with the latest regulations, and ensuring their business stays in-line with the latest restrictions and requirements to remain compliant. 

How can ProCanna help? Our cloud-based software tools and features, update, manage, organize, track and analyze your specific business needs when it comes to compliance. From innovative reporting, searchable regulations, simplified regulation summaries, to auditing and training – we’ve got all your regulatory bases covered. Easy, smart, and yours, put ProCanna in your corner today. See how our features support state-specific regulations, now.