No Kids Allowed

State cannabis bureau working on specific requirements for child-resistant packaging

Pop-ups, push-and-turns, heat sealing and warning labels are the likely future of recreational cannabis.

Pop-ups, push-and-turns, heat sealing and warning labels are the likely future of recreational cannabis.

"Everybody is waiting for regulation." Casey Knott, Owner of 420 Stock packaging company

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We have come a long way since the 1970s, when Californians secretly stashed their marijuana away in sandwich bags. Now we have pop-ups and heat-sealed packaging all designed with one thing in mind: To keep cannabis out of the hands of children. It’s among state regulators’ biggest concerns when recreational sales start in January. Whether child-resistance will be required for individual packages or by throwing everything into a secure bag, one thing is certain: Child-resistant packages will be the norm.

According to the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation’s (BMCR) proposed text, cannabis packaging must be “significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open, and not difficult for adults to use properly.” How that plays out is the big question right now. When asked, BMCR spokespersons only say that it will be finalized “by the fall.”

“Everybody is waiting for regulation,” said Sacramento’s Casey Knott, owner of 420 Stock (, a non-edibles packaging supplier for cannabis dispensaries. There are profits in this niche industry for entrepreneurs who are willing to wait until lawmakers finalize everything. Suppliers like Knott would rather do that than guess on the state’s final regulations.

Current child-resistant packages carried by 420 Stock include push-and-turn prescription bottles, squeeze-to-open “pop-ups,” warning labels and the Mylar envelopes commonly seen in dispensaries. “These envelopes are certified child-resistant when you heat-seal them,” said Knott. The sealing process renders them difficult to open, even for adults, without using scissors or busting a tooth.

As with other states, the BMCR text also proposes child-resistant “exit bags.” White, opaque, and designed to look uninteresting to kids, these bags quickly solve the problem by holding several non-child-resistant packages inside.

California will also require tamper-resistant shrink-wrapping on some packages, and a new warning icon, which Knott described as an upside-down triangle with the letters “THC” and an exclamation point inside. “We’re trying to keep up,” says a smiling Knott.

Safety experts will point out that packaging is child resistant — not completely child proof. So parents should keep their cannabis up and out of a child’s reach, consider purchasing a locked box or safe, and put away marijuana after each use.