NOTE: The following is an editorial by our staff editor. It is a matter of opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of all Dab Connection staff.
I’m sorry, I really tried to be supportive of the state of California, pioneers in cannabis legalization. I was born and raised there, after all. But along with my tender feelings for my old surfin’ safari home, I also have insight into one of California’s eternal Achilles heels: Bureaucracy! You know that scene in Terry Gilliam’s 1985 Brazil where Robert De Niro gets swarmed by a whirlwind of forms and contracts and printouts until he’s eaten alive by the paperwork? That’s daily life in California. They’re trying to manage a nation-sized state with a state-sized government; they can’t help it. But they’re often too crippled by red tape to step out of their own way.
All kidding aside, I understand that California-based cannabis companies are going to be inconvenienced if the new bill, AB-1207 Cannabis: labeling and advertising.(2023-2024), forces them to re-do their packaging. But we urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom to pass it with flying colors anyway, for what little last-ditch hope it provides for the rapidly-imploding Cali weed scene.
What baffles me is the California cannabis industry owners who are bawling about the bill and urging Newsom to veto it, as reported at SFGate. Can they not understand how this bill helps them? Probably not, so once again we’ll have to help them over their protests.
They who cannot get their act together shalt have their act collected for them!
It’s Time For Some Packaging Accountability, California!
Need I remind you (indeed, I could compile my past blog posts on the topic into a book by now), this is what we’re up against! Finding Nemo, Spongebob Squarepants, Donald Duck, Deadpool, the Joker, Willy Wonka, Star Wars, Power-Puff Girls… on and on and on! With all the trouble we have with fully grown adults dropping dead from black market cartridge ingredients, do we need every vape package to be easily confused with a children’s product too?
Seriously? Do I have to condescendingly explain that LIVES ARE AT STAKE here? Even beyond that, how about us consumers who actually care what we put in our bodies? May we please read a legible label for a second without trying to decipher your melting-blob-letters font on a blended-Oompah-Loompah background?
Yes, it would be a nice world if we could all live at Haight-Ashbury and pretend the Summer of Love never ended, but in the real world we are selling an adult product which is in a state of emergency in California. We already tried being more lenient on packaging standards; that didn’t work.
To the owner, quoted in SFGate, who complains that if the new packaging regulations pass, he’ll have to chuck $200K worth of packaging: (a) Even plain Roller-Coaster-Tycoon business accounting teaches you better than tie up a fifth of a million in labeling. (b) You’ll just backdoor these products like all your Cali colleagues do anyway, long before the proposed law takes effect.
To the owner pointing out that they use label graphics to express to customers that their business is minority-owned: Hey, let’s just move that information to the website, linked from that QR code you like to slap everywhere. I mean, a flag emoji plus a gender symbol conveys the ethnic roots and gender of the proprietor too, but why even make it that complicated?
Just do it WITHOUT a cartoon! That’s all anybody is asking. Imagine what I could be asking:
Top ten reasons why cannabis product labels should be PLAIN TEXT ONLY!
- * Simplest enforcement ever, crystal clear
- * Makes it EASIER to tell the legit from fake products (which use cartoon characters all the time)
- * If tobacco and alcohol can market without cartoon characters, so can cannabis
- * Cannabis labels should tell me 100% true potency, ingredients, percentages, and freshness information before they think of adding a single graphic
- * Consumers are sick of trying to read packaging that looks like a tagged-up graffiti boxcar
- * Cannabis is a serious business
- * Cannabis is an adult product
- * Companies that can’t take cannabis seriously need to get out of business
- * A state where the black market out-sells the legit market 3-to-1 has no business complaining about tighter regulation
- * Maybe I can finally look at a shelf at the dispensary without getting dizzy and puking
Now I’m sure you could call my recommendation autocratic, insensitive, or too extreme. My justification would be that every other US state currently legalized for adult use lives with restrictive packaging standards and they’re doing just fine. California is so infested by the black market, which they refuse to reign in with their California cowboy mentality, that the rest of the nation could consider California the COVID of the cannabis industry. Forty-nine other states have to put up with organized crime circulating imported counterfeit vape cartridges from China, because California is their port of call.
But Wait! There’s More!
Not only does this bill help cops on the ground tell the fake products from the realies, and not only will it perhaps prod cannabis packagers to fill some empty space with some useful information for a change, but there are long-term business benefits for the California cannabis industry if they follow the packaging standards just keep building from there.
Friends and neighbors, does it seem to you as if the American cannabis legalization front is stalling? Like states are turning legal at a slower rate, getting more pushback from the establishment? Could it be that some voters have seen the results in California…
…and they don’t want THIS?
Did any of you bright graphic designers for the cannabis industry ever stop to think that maybe the world will take us more seriously if we don’t put on clown shoes and a fright wig at every opportunity? If we, perhaps, allowed marijuana to just have some simple… dignity? How about if we adults may be allowed to feel like an adult while we buy our adult products?
How about presenting a PROFESSIONAL image, California cannabis industry? Not only are you making all 49 other states look bad, but you’re going under too. Legislators are trying to toss you a Milkbone, if only you would stop gnawing their arm to a bloody stump for a moment.
Stoners, Can You Live Without Rick and Morty on Your Vape Cartridge?
Who are these people that will never buy cannabis again unless it’s presented by Cartoon Network? Readers, do you honestly care if you never see another cartoon on cannabis packaging again? Share your thoughts here in the comments or in our very adult, very plainly-packaged forum.