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What is the difference between primary packaging and secondary packaging for cannabis in Canada?

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What is the difference between primary packaging and secondary packaging for cannabis in Canada?

The Cannabis Act, which is the law that governs recreational cannabis in Canada and establishes requirements for containers and packages, contains several rules regarding primary and secondary packaging. These regulations ensure that consumers are properly informed about the product they are purchasing and reduce the risk of accidental ingestion by children. The Cannabis Act requires precise information to be featured on the exterior of primary and secondary cannabis containers (known as “primary packaging” and “secondary packaging”, respectively).

What is primary packaging for cannabis?

Primary packaging is the first layer of packaging that comes into contact with your cannabis product. It must be opaque, tamper-evident, and child-resistant. In addition to all that, it must also be labelled with the name of your product’s strain or brand and its THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) content if it does not come in another form of packaging. 

What is secondary packaging?

You’ll also want to know what must be on the exterior of secondary packaging, as it’s another important piece of information for you to keep in mind when choosing a cannabis brand. The mandatory and legible font size is 50 mm (2 inches) and it must be displayed in black and white, but don’t worry! You can still get creative with the design—as long as it complies with these requirements:

  • The mandatory information must be displayed in English and French.
  • All packaging must use a clear, single-unit plastic bag with no window that has a maximum capacity of 30 g (1 oz) or less;
  • The following information must appear on the exterior surface:

How do I make sure my custom cannabis packaging complies with the Cannabis Act?

  • Check with your supplier. The Cannabis Act has specific requirements for cannabis packaging, such as the size of the label, what information can be included on it and how much of that information is required to be in both French and English. There are also restrictions on the type of font used and whether or not a brand logo can appear on your label. Your packaging supplier should be able to help you understand the rules and meet them accordingly.
  • Check with your lawyer. The Cannabis Act is extremely complex, so even if you’ve already checked with a supplier about what packaging regulations apply to your products, it may be worth having an attorney review them anyway just to make sure everything is covered off properly from both legal standpoints (i.e., are any other laws being broken?) and regulatory ones (i.e., does everything comply?).
  • Ask for documentation. Your supplier should be able to provide Child Resistance Certifications for all packaging they sell you, as well as MSDS for all non-article components.

The Cannabis Act requires precise information to be featured on the exterior of primary and secondary cannabis containers.

In addition to these packaging requirements for the exterior of primary and secondary containers, the Cannabis Act also requires that both types of packaging contain precise information. Primary packaging must be opaque to prevent people from seeing inside it before purchase and ensure that consumers can’t tell what’s inside without opening up the package. Secondary packaging must also be opaque so that people cannot see through it or identifying markings on the outside.

Similarly, child-resistant means that packages are designed not to be opened by children under five years old (and adults will have a hard time opening them too). Tamper-evident refers to seals or other security features designed into packages so they can’t be opened without leaving evidence behind: if someone tries unsuccessfully to open your package, you’ll know someone has tampered with it!

Whether you’re looking to sell cannabis or just need some medicinal products, we can help. Our packaging is compliant with all federal regulations so you can have peace of mind when it comes time for shipping!

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