Massachusetts Publishes New Marijuana Regulations

Effective January 8, 2021, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) published new marijuana regulations for Advertising, Labeling, and Packaging medical- and adult-use cannabis.

Prior to filing with MA Secretary William Galvin, the CCC met for eight public policy meetings and two public hearings.

These new regulations include a pre-approval process and clarification regarding authorized and prohibited language use for marijuana labeling and packaging. Additionally, advertising and brand name promotion was simplified and outlined.

More specifically, newly approved policies include:

Pre-Approval Process

Packaging and labeling must be pre-approved by the CCC before going to market. Application for approval is required for new or vastly changed labels and packages requiring an application and images of the front and back, sent digitally with a fee of $50 per application.

As needed, the CCC may require a view of the label or packaging in-person or via video conference online. Details on photograph quality and spec requirements can be found in 935 CMR 500.104 (7)(b)(1)-(2).

Marijuana Regulations on Labeling

Marijuana regulations on packaging and labeling

Massachusetts’s cannabis labeling regulations are now organized into five categories, each with its own set of rules and requirements.

  1. Marijuana Not Sold as Marijuana Product
  2. Edibles
  3. Marijuana Concentrates and Extracts
  4. Marijuana-Infused Tinctures and Topical
  5. Labeling of Repackaged Marijuana

Each of the five categories requires the labels to list the total net weight or volume in US customary units as well as metric units. They also must outline the number of servings the product contains as well as serving size to include the specific weight in milligrams per serving.

Beyond these shared requirements, each of the five categories has its own nuances that need to be met. Specific phrases need to be listed on certain types of products, for example.  

Advertising Rules for Marijuana Brands

marijuana advertising

The final regulations simplify and define advertising and branding, or “brand name sponsorship.”  Advertising encompasses both marketing and advertising. Meanwhile, brand name sponsorship includes a sponsorship of a 21+ charity or sports event, or the like, where the advertising is promoting the brand name only.

Specifically, any Brand Name Sponsorship event must meet three specific conditions:

  • Submittal of a Positive Impact Plan
  • Promote Brand Name only
  • Advertising can only be targeted towards 21+

In conjunction with these requirements, the new regulations specifically list a collection of prohibited actions when advertising as a cannabis brand name. These “forbidden 18” can be read here. 

With promulgation complete, Massachusetts begins a phase of implementation with updates Before to be made as well as support documents and educational resources.  

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