The benefits of the cannabis plant are being recognized by more and more people, due in large part to the growing body of scientific literature on the therapeutic potential of its active compounds. The notable number of celebrity and pro athlete CBD endorsements certainly aren’t hurting matters either. As the stigma attached to the use of cannabis continues to fade, its popularity is only continuing to skyrocket. This is reflected in the rapid growth of the legal cannabis industry’s market size, which is expected to reach as high as $33 billion by 2025.
Is recreational cannabis legal in California?
In California, cannabis is legal for both recreational and medicinal use. While there are some restrictions on how it can be used, cannabis is becoming an increasingly popular choice for people looking for relief from a variety of medical conditions.
California has been at the forefront of the legalization of cannabis, and there are now a number of dispensaries across the state where people can purchase it legally. As a so-called “pioneer state,” California is also the epicenter of cannabis innovation, hosting many industry firsts including private cannabis caterers, cannabis taprooms and pubs, as well as restaurants featuring menus revolving entirely around cannabinoids and terpenes.
There are a number of ways to consume cannabis, including smoking, vaping, or the consumption of infused food and beverages, commonly known as “edibles.” Some people also use cannabis-infused topicals such as lotions or balms for relief from muscle pain, inflammation, and skin irritation.
Cannabis can be especially helpful for people who are struggling with chronic pain, anxiety, or mood disorders. It can also be beneficial for people suffering side effects from chemotherapy, as well as individuals diagnosed with sleep disorders. Whether in the form of extra-strength CBD oil or infused sugar candy, the therapeutic potential of the cannabis plant has wide applicability and appeal to consumers of all backgrounds, which explains its massive popularity in the Golden State.
Can you buy edibles at 18 in California?
In a word, no. Just as with liquor, you must be 21 to possess, consume or purchase recreational cannabis products. These include vaping cartridges or e-liquids, products for smoking and infused edibles.
Despite cannabis’ legal status in pioneer states like California, Oregon and Colorado, varieties of cannabis containing THC (e.g. marijuana) are still technically illegal under federal law. This is because of THC’s classification as a schedule I drug under the DEA’s drug scheduling system, essentially categorizing it as a controlled substance. This is why the legal age for recreational consumption is 21 instead of 18, even in California.
It’s worth noting that contrary to popular misconception, California isn’t exactly the wild west of cannabis consumption. There are a number of regulations in place — both on product manufacturers and consumers — to ensure public safety and a legal cannabis industry that doesn’t run afoul of federal law. In this post, we briefly go over important regulations on edibles in particular, both for licensed retailers and cannabis DIYers.
California Law and Regulations for Cannabis Edibles Production in California
Existing regulations on cannabis edibles in the state of California can be divided into three categories: packaging regulations, labeling guidelines and labeling restrictions. Let’s quickly explore the three below.
What are the regulations for the packaging of edibles in California?
All cannabis goods including edibles are required to be in packaging that is resealable (if containing more than one serving), child- and pet-resistant, tamper proof and — for edibles specifically — opaque.
General cannabis labeling requirements and restrictions in California
Labels of all cannabis goods including edibles must have two primary panels on their product labels. The first is the “primary” panel; the portion of the label most likely to be displayed to the consumer at retail containing at-a-glance information like brand signage, number of servings, and net weight. The second is the information panel, which must contain legible ingredients listings, allergen warnings (if applicable) and dosage information, among other essential items.
All cannabis goods must also provide a space in their labeling for the universal symbol for cannabis, which alerts consumers that the product contains cannabis. The universal symbol must be on the primary panel of all cannabis goods sold in California. Product manufacturers cannot alter the symbol in any way other than changing its size, but it must be at least a half inch by half inch in size. The universal symbol for cannabis goods can be downloaded in JPG, PNG and PDF formats from California’s Department of Cannabis Control website.
The most notable of California’s labeling restrictions on cannabis goods include prohibitions on the printing of health claims anywhere on the label, as well as pictures of the actual product in the case of edibles. Most importantly, the labels cannot contain anything considered attractive to children (e.g. cartoons, “candy-style” labeling or the words “candy,” “candies” or similar).
Is it legal to make your own edibles in California?
In states where recreational cannabis is legal, homemade infused foods and beverages are legal to make and consume — whether they be smoothies, brownies or salad dressing. So-called “DIYers” commonly create their own vape juices and edibles using cannabinoid and terpene isolates.
Can You Sell Marijuana Edibles in California?
Despite its full legalization in California and other states, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. This means trafficking or selling marijuana-infused products without a license is a federal offense, with penalties including criminal prosecution and tax liabilities.
If you’re looking to sell marijuana edibles, you must submit an application and meet several California testing, advertising, distribution and sales requirements to obtain a state manufacturer’s license.