‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it;’ marijuana packaging to be less kid-friendly, pot industry pushing back

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - As the recreational marijuana industry continues to boom in the state of Missouri, a new rule will require new labels for many weed products to make them less enticing for children.

Jason Crady, co-owner of Missouri Wild Alchemy, a cannabis dispensary in O’Fallon, Mo. knows the products he’s selling are soon going to have to change.

“What we have on the shelf, I don’t think but two brands would potentially be compliant with this new regulation,” said Crady.

He knows customers who depend on information on the packaging, especially edibles, and says his suppliers use them to build their brand.

“The colors and the font sizes on the different things do matter and I think it’s important, I think it’s a little bit of an overreach,” said Crady.

Due to a new Missouri regulation, beginning August 1, pot product labels cannot include a long list of things - including any type of cartoon, real-life person, animal or fruit. The packaging can only have limited colors, and the brand name or label can’t be bigger than the word ‘MARIJUANA’ on the package.

Crady tracked down a few products that would be compliant. But he only found a couple. Dispensary owners like Crady are liable for these products as the last line of defense.

“A locally owned and operated dispensary can’t afford to have a mistake that costs a big fine or anything like that,” said Crady.

Drew Lammert helps make and manufacture and sell cannabis. He has three dispensaries, Kind Goods, in Missouri.

He’s also liable if products are illegally labeled.

He said the Misouri has rolled out recreational weed better than any state in the country but the packaging already is tough for kids to get into.

“It’s kind of a ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ situation. We already have packaging that doesn’t appeal to minors and we have child-resistant packaging,” said Lammert.

He argues that with the new rules, information like nutritional facts and instructions on how to open the child-resistant packaging cannot be on the pot packages.

Yet folks News 4 found believe the labels could be less kid friendly.

“I do feel like there should be a parental warning for them,” said David Hubbard.

Leatrice McNeil agreed but said parents who have weed at home should also be held accountable.

“Also you have to expect people to be good parents and they just leave their stuff out and kids get into it, and you know what happens after that,” said McNeil.

There could also be a potential lawsuit. Lammert points out a line in the state constitution that states “under all circumstances, any such regulation shall be no more stringent than comparable state regulations on the advertising and promotion of alcohol sales.”

And yet when you look at alcohol products, they often include cartoons and other images that wouldn’t be compliant with the new rule for pot.

“I just believe that this current rule they have out right now is violating the constitutional amendment,” said Lammert.

Lammert said he doesn’t plan to sue but said somebody else could easily file a lawsuit.