In the cannabis industry, child-resistant and tamper evident packaging are mandatory for most states. People often assume the terms are the same and use them interchangeably, but they are indeed different.
The Poison Prevention Packaging Act states “A child-resistant package is designed to be significantly difficult for children under five to open or obtain a harmful amount of the contents within a reasonable time.” The PPPA also states these products must “pass the test”.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the PPPA’s test:
- A group of children aged between three and five are handed packages and asked to open them.
- They are given five minutes – during this time they can move around and bang or pry the package to open it.
- After five minutes have passed the adult demonstrator will open the package in front of the children to show them how it can be opened.
- A second round will begin, with the children given another five minutes – during this time the children are told they can use their teeth to open the pack.
- A package can be certified as child-resistant if it cannot be opened by at least 85% of children before the demonstration, and at least 80% after the demonstration. At the same time, it must be accessible by 90% of senior adults.
For cannabis, child-resistant packaging comes in many forms. The most common units are pop tops with a child-resistant lid, bags with built-in child-resistant openings, and jars or containers with “push and turn” child-resistant lids.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “A tamper-evident package is one having one or more indicators or barriers to entry which, if breached or missing, can reasonably be expected to provide visible evidence to consumers that tampering has occurred.”
So, if someone or something meddled with your packaging, it would be apparent to consumers. They would see a broken film, a torn lid, or some evidence that the packaging had been breached and know that there is a possibility that the integrity of the product may be compromised. This alert, through packaging appearance, helps keep your consumer and your brand safe.
At dispensaries, cannabis packaging often includes tamper evident seals, labels, shrink bands, or rings.
The main difference between these terms is that child-resistant packaging remains child-resistant even after opening the product. Whereas tamper evidence is meant for one-time use, specifically the first time you open the product. In the cannabis industry, there is no firm consensus on the use of either unless they are mandated by state licensing authorities. Even in states where there is no specific regulation, it is considered “best practice” to package in child-resistant packaging that is tamper evident. While regulations vary by state, tamper-evident seals plus child-resistant packaging are ideal for cannabis-based products.