On Wednesday, the New York State Cannabis Control Board released proposed regulations governing the advertising and labeling of cannabis products in New York. After a sixty-day public comment period, the rules will be finalized.
The regulations set forth detailed requirements regarding how cannabis products may be packaged and marketed. In a statement, Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said, "We are committed to building a New York cannabis industry that sets high standards for protecting children and keeping products safe and sustainable." Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rules.
Under the proposed packaging rules, all cannabis packaging will be required to include a universal symbol that indicates that the product is from New York, that it is only for consumers over the age of 21, and that it contains THC. In addition to a number of additional disclosures, packaging will also be required to include various warning information, including, "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS."
Cannabis sellers are also prohibited from using single-use plastic packaging, unless the packaging contains a minimum 25% post-consumer recycled content. They're also required to comply with the FTC's Green Guides when making claims about the product's recycled content.
The proposed rules include many limits on how products can be packaged and labeled. One of the primary requirements is that the product should not be "attractive to individuals under twenty one," which is defined as including elements such as:
- Bubble-type or other cartoon-like font;
- Bright colors that are neon in appearance;
- Similarities to other products or words that are appealing to kids, such as food, candy, soda, drinks, cookies, or cereal;
- The term "candy" and similar words;
- Other symbols, images, characters, public figures, phrases, toys, or games that are commonly used to market products to children; and
- Images of people who appear to be children.
The proposed rules also prohibit the use of health claims, the use of the term "organic," and the promotion of overconsumption, as well as any price-related claims.
New York's proposed cannabis advertising rules permit licensees to advertise cannabis products, so long as "the primary purpose of the advertising is to displace the illicit market and inform the consumer of the location of licensed retail dispensaries." The rules caution that the advertising should not "jeopardize public health or safety, promote youth use, or be attractive to individuals under twenty-one."
The proposed rules require that ads include a variety of required statements and one of a number of rotating warnings, such as "Cannabis may cause impairment and may be habit forming" and "There may be risks associated with consumption of this product."
New York's rules also require that ad placements appear in media that that has an audience of at least 90% adults. For advertising online, marketers are required to age-gate their materials. The rules also generally prohibit billboard advertising. The rules prohibit stadium and event-related advertising as well, unless the advertising is in an adult-only facility.
In addition, the proposed rules include a number of prohibitions on what may be included in advertising, such as:
- Images or cannabis or paraphernalia;
- Anything attractive to minors;
- Colloquial references to marijuana, such as "weed," "pot," or "sticky buds";
- Health claims;
- Promoting overconsumption or rapid consumption;
- Promoting potency;
- Promoting price or promotions;
- Depictions of people who appear to be children;
- The term "organic"; and
- Encouraging transportation of cannabis over state lines.
The use of mascots is prohibited as well.
"We are committed to building a New York cannabis industry that sets high standards for protecting children and keeping products safe and sustainable" -- Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright