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Are Proposed Regulations for Sustainable Packaging Too Strict?

Last June, the New York Cannabis Control Board issued a draft regulation which deals with packaging, marketing, advertising and testing laboratories for the state market.

At a glance, the regulations seem thorough and concerned with sustainability – something the whole industry is beginning to pursue with vigor. However, some experts and operators believe that New York is stricter than necessary compared to other legal states, especially when it comes to sustainability guidelines.

Sustainability is a huge issue for the cannabis industry, but is it the right way to go about it?

Public comments on the draft regulations are open until August 15, 2022.

Cannabis legalization has gradually rolled out in the United States over the past few decades, and with it comes a disarray of regulatory efforts.

One state will deliver a legal cannabis program, exciting consumers and operators in the region while implying endless possibilities for the industry. Then, regulations that are backward, convoluted, and unnecessarily complex enough to make cannabis legalization all but pointless will be put in place.

It’s a story as old as… well, the legal weed industry.

Despite this discouraging trend, carriers remained optimistic about New York as the progressive state demonstrated its willingness to implement social equity and structure a program that benefits everyone: consumers, carriers, and government.

However, the New York Cannabis Control Board’s proposed packaging, labeling and marketing regulations leave the rest of the industry feeling that their initial optimism was misplaced and naïve.

Many of the recently proposed regulations on packaging, labeling, marketing and advertising make sense and reflect what other states have done. The project will require operators to use labels that are childproof and clearly unappealing to consumers under 21, and packaging pre-approved as environmentally sustainable.

But it does not stop there.

Licensees must provide reuse strategies for collecting reusable packaging components (after ensuring they have been sanitized and disinfected) and describe a sustainable packaging strategy that uses “non-plastic materials, compostable or recyclable” or “packaging materials that exceed 25% post-consumer recycled content.

Licensees will also be required to report their packaging annually, including the total amount of packaging material sold or distributed in the state during the previous calendar year, and the total cost of the material.

On paper, this sounds like a fantastic initiative that will help bring the whole industry ever closer to mass conscious sustainability. But the reality is that these requirements will pose a lot of logistical challenges and legal pressure for operators – on top of everything they already need to consider to stay compliant – and it won’t even result in this sustainable development. of a market.

If 25% is the minimum requirement for sustainable packaging, it will be easy enough for operators to source and comply with, but it won’t affect the bigger environmental issues this world is striving to solve. .

Instead, the requirements of the strategy will create a lot more work for state operators, making it all the more difficult to set up and operate.

Seasoned space operators are scratching their heads at these proposed regulations, as it is clear that they will do very little for the environment and instead create many opportunities for the government to intervene in the industry.

New Yorkers have until August 15 to vote on the proposed wording, and hopefully enough experts will recognize the plan’s shortcomings before it’s too late.

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