On September 25, 2023, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) released proposed regulations for the manufacturing and marketing of edible and ingestible cannabis products in the state. The proposed rules would allow Class 2 cannabis manufacturers to develop and offer an expanded range of products. The proposed regulations also seek to protect New Jersey consumers by extending federal, state, and local food-related health and safety standards to cannabis products.
The proposal represents an exciting expansion of New Jersey’s cannabis market. Soon, the New Jersey market will see the wide offerings of products found in the flagship states of cannabis legalization, like California and Colorado. The proposed regulations discuss edibles and ingestibles already commonly found in New Jersey dispensaries – such as pills and gummies – but provide several new categories, namely, syrups, single-serving beverages, oral suspensions, and shelf-stable foods. For shelf-stable foods, the proposal gives the example of “chocolates, …baked goods, butters, jams, and jellies.” Given the broad language used, New Jerseyans can expect much more, from cannabis-infused peanut butter to lozenges to ketchup.
THC Limits and Prohibition of Other Substances
However, these new categories are not without limitations. Each package cannot contain more than 100 mg in total of active THC, with each serving containing no more than 10 mg of active THC. Further, the regulation limits single-serving beverages to only 5 mg of active THC.
In addition to limits on the amount of THC an ingestible product may contain, the proposed regulations also establish strict prohibitions as to what these products cannot contain. Specifically, a finished product cannot contain alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, or a controlled dangerous substance. Manufacturers would also be prohibited from distributing products that require cooking or baking by the consumer or require sterile storage conditions.
New Health, Safety, and Packaging Standards
The proposal also features new health and safety standards aimed at protecting consumers. Manufacturers must obtain various certifications from the Department of Health and ensure that equipment complies with applicable health regulations. The proposed regulations further require manufacturers to educate their employees on preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring safe food handling, including major food allergens. The proposed regulations also incorporate federal law by requiring compliance with the FDA’s “Generally Recognized as Safe” standard for ingredients.
If finalized in their current form, the regulations would make the packaging of cannabis products look much like the back of a box of macaroni and cheese. The packaging must include an ingredient list, providing every ingredient in descending order of predominance by weight or volume. Manufacturers must also apply a nutritional label to the packaging and list any major allergens found in the cannabis products. If the product needs refrigeration, the packaging must indicate “refrigerate after opening” and any timelines for consuming opened products. The proposed regulations continue to prohibit the marketing of cannabis products by using realistic or fictional humans, animals, or fruit. However, fruit and vegetable flavors are permitted, and manufacturers may package products with a cannabis leaf.
The CRC invites public comment at this link until December 15, 2023. If you have questions about the proposed regulations or would like assistance submitting a comment, please contact Anthony Sango at Ansell.Law.