Colorado Considers New Labeling for Edibles

Labeling Edibles

A persistent problem with edible marijuana continues to plague Colorado regulators. On August 31, 2015, members of the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division met to discuss proposed changes to edibles regulation.

Some of the proposed changes would include limiting marijuana beverages to one serving per container, as well as banning the use of the word “candy” on edible marijuana packages. However, the one topic that generated the most vigorous debate was the question of labeling edible marijuana.

Ever since edible marijuana has been legally available there has been a debate over how to balance safety concerns with the needs of business. If one makes the packaging too uninviting, like with a skull and cross bones for example, then business would likely be harmed. If you make labeling requirements too lax, like if famous cartoon characters were allowed on easy to open packages, then you would likely put minors at risk of accidental marijuana ingestion.

Lawmakers previously considered placing a big red octagon with the letters THC stamped on the front. Many in the industry complained about the stamp because it resembled a stop sign too much, which many feared would drive away consumers.

Speaking with The Denver Channel, Sweet Grass Kitchen founder Julie Berliner suggested that a stop sign shape was not the right approach for consumers or the industry.

“‘Stop THC’ is not the message we want to send in Colorado,” Berliner said. “It says we don’t really believe in what we are doing. I think there are other recognizable symbols, such as a yield sign.”

During the meeting regulators revealed a new symbol that they hope can serve as a compromise between the two competing interests. The new proposed symbol would be a diamond shape with the letters THC inside of it. On the packaging itself, the symbol would be red with black text, while it would be white on the product.

Some may be pleased with compromise, but others were wishing for stricter packaging. Speaking with The Gazette, Gina Carbone of Smart Colorado said her group was worried about new symbol being too mild and thought that the stop sign packaging was clearer.

“It’s a great symbol for people to pause, consider what they’re doing,” Carbone said. “You look both ways and then you proceed.”

Smart Colorado was one of the main groups opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012, and has since rebranded itself as a non-profit dedicated to raising “public awareness and education of marijuana’s health risks to youth.”

At this point in the regulatory process, the public commentary phase has ended and now it will move into the decision phase where Barbara Brohl, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue, will have the ultimate say in the issue.

According to The Denver Channel, feedback will be submitted to the State Licensing Authority this month, then the rules are expected to be finalized and effective by November 30, 2015.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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