County Bill Supports Cannabis Product Packaging

A bill introduced by lawmakers Kara Hahn and Sarah Anker would require “plain packaging and labeling to apply to all surfaces”, and further restrict logos, colors and branding to very fine print, and would require cannabis products to be sold in tamper-evident packaging or child-resistant containers.

The Suffolk County Legislature is considering a bill introduced July 26 that aims to address a chronic concern of parents, educators and others following New York’s landmark cannabis legalization law passed in March. 2021: the packaging of potted products, especially edible ones.

According to Renee Goodwin, a public health researcher, the law under consideration would impose strict packaging guidelines that may well be the strictest set of adolescent-centric rules under consideration in the United States. They would reflect pot legal Canada guidelines, she said.

Ms. Goodwin is a researcher in psychiatric epidemiology and addiction, a professor in the School of Public Health at the City College of New York, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University, with a particular interest in the impacts that legalization may have on adolescents. health. She is trying to get the National Institutes of Health on board with her proposal to make Suffolk County a test region to determine the relationship between packaging and consumption among young users.

“There is so little regulation of the product in terms of marketing, advertising,” said Ms. Goodwin, whose research to date has unsurprisingly shown that states that have legalized cannabis have seen an increase in the rate used by young people. But when Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, she said, it did so with “very strict packaging laws and warning labels that had to be bigger than the logo,” as well as other directives prohibiting packaging similar to products such as, for example, Oreo cookies. or other sweets and treats. The result: Canada has seen “no spike in child use,” she said.

Ms Goodwin said Suffolk County is prime ground for her proposed study – given it is surrounded by water, has many towns that have ‘opted in’ to allow dispensaries and on-site consumption spaces , and is something of an island unto itself given that Nassau County has largely retreated from the new green economy. “Suffolk is as good as it gets for an experience,” she said, pointing out that consumers here won’t have to travel to New York to buy cannabis products and that local waters create a additional buffer zone that would tend to hold edible products. local production and sales.

His NIH proposal comes at a time when Southampton is scrambling to iron out the details after that city joined last year. The packaging problem, Ms Goodwin said, extends to the wider marketing and advertising of cannabis in places like Southampton and to that end Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has proposed a new order which, among other things restrictive gestures, limits the potential use of cannabis in salons and dispensaries can do to advertise their products.

They should be devoid of any exterior signage or marketing indicating they are a pot business – so no logos of pot leaves waving flag poles on Montauk Highway. Any cannabis products sold in dispensaries or salons should follow these guidelines — and comply with any county laws affecting the products themselves.

Once the rules are set, a Southampton business, Ultra Nightclub at 125 Tuckahoe Lane, is said to show a desire to transition from a nightclub selling alcohol to a cannabis lounge. The Southampton guidelines under consideration allow the sale of alcohol or pot in a nightclub, but not both. Ultra would be rebranded as Magnetic Greens and sport a pink lotus logo, according to a representative from the nightclub who spoke at a recent Southampton City Council meeting about the reefer rollout in the city.

This July 12 meeting also saw many parents and anti-drug advocates testify to the effect of: “But what about children?”

The Suffolk County bill is replete with language about the deleterious health effects of cannabis in children, as it notes that “many businesses use packaging to interact with customers and establish a visual relationship,” even though governments Federal, state and local spend millions of dollars a year on drug education programs for children.

“Commercialization of these products would negatively impact these programs and those we seek to inform through them,” reads the bill, which was introduced by lawmakers Kara Hahn and Sarah Anker. It would require “plain packaging and labeling to apply to all surfaces”, further restrict logos, colors and branding to very small print, and require cannabis products to be sold in tamper-evident or child-proof containers.

It would further require warning labels to keep the product out of the reach of children and ban words like “sweets” or “candy” on the product unless they are part of the name of the marijuana establishment.

The bill would also ban any language about the physical or health benefits of cannabis use, and packaging would have to include the New York Poison Control emergency phone number. It further prohibits any use of “cartooning, color combinations, images, graphics or features that may make the packaging attractive to children”. Violators would face misdemeanor charges with fines and up to a year in jail.

In other words, it’s a total buzzkill. But very necessary, says Ms Goodwin, citing data on “the huge increase in poisonings” among children who consumed cannabis edibles such as gummies.

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