In early August, the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) of Colorado proposed changes to be made to all packages for medicated edibles sold throughout the state.
The initial rules stated that all packages containing edibles would be required to be prominently stamped with a large, red octagonal stop sign symbol with the letters THC inside it. MED explained that this was a way of warning consumers (specifically those who are underage) that the item contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in cannabis.
However, the marijuana industry in the state immediately had their doubts about the efficacy of the symbol. Many marijuana supporters claimed that the symbol was far too strict looking, explaining that it implies that the items should not be consumed whatsoever simply because they contain THC.
This debate began in September of last year, when House Bill 1366 was introduced as a measure to clearly mark which edible items contained THC. This bill required the Colorado Department of Revenue to “adopt rules requiring edible retail marijuana products to be shaped, stamped, colored, or otherwise marked with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children.” These rules, according to the bill, had to be finalized and adopted by Jan. 1, 2016.
But, after a number of hearings and debates on the topic, the MED has decided to augment the stop sign symbol to something a little more acceptable to consumers, while still getting the point across that the treats are medicated with cannabis.
According to members of the Denver Post editorial board: “The symbol should lose the stop sign. Edible marijuana is legal in Colorado, and a stop sign is akin to asking the industry to put a skull and cross bones on items.”
The new symbol, a diamond shape containing the letters “THC”, would be required to be displayed on all marijuana edible packaging. The symbol still has to be red if it is displayed on the packaging, but if it is placed directly on the product in some way, the color is not required. And while the red color of the symbol is still a little too much for some supporters, this seems to be a much better compromise.
While it is important to let unknowing consumers be aware that the cookie they are about to eat contains a psychoactive substance, it should be done in a way that does not deter customers who do want to partake from purchasing the product. And though the newly proposed THC diamond is arguably more neutral than a big, red stop sign, it may not be the best thing for the industry from a marketing standpoint.
On top of the clear marking of edible’s packaging, HB1366 also included a number of other rules regarding the edible’s industry. For example, one such rule is that the term “candy” has been banned from being used on any cannabis products – even if they are lollipops or chewy candies. Additionally, industry workers are banned from buying normal candies in bulk, spraying them with cannabis oils and reselling it as a medicated treat to avoid confusion in children who may get their hands on the familiar items. And finally, the amount of allowable THC dosage will be limited to 10mg to a single serving if in a liquid form (while it is currently possible to find some edibles with up to 100mg of THC).
The final draft of the Department of Revenue’s rules regarding the industry were submitted earlier this month and the rules will be fully implemented into law by January 1.
Should cannabis edibles be required to have a special symbol on the packaging/product? Let us know what you think in the comments below.