All marijuana edibles in Colorado - whether it's hard candy, brownies or granola bars - would be marked with a diamond shape that encloses the letters THC under rules that were debated before members of the Marijuana Enforcement Division Monday at the state Capitol.
The goal of the new "universal symbol" mandated under House Bill 1366 from 2014 is to end the accidental ingestion of marijuana infused products by making them easily recognizable even when they are outside of the package. The symbol would be required on both medical and recreational marijuana products.
For some manufacturers of marijuana infused products or MIPs the recommended rule will be fairly easy to follow. For others it represents a significant challenge. When it's impossible for the symbol to be on the item itself, instead individual serving-sizes are required to be labeled. The specifically exempted products are those sold in bulk, like granola, and liquids.
The symbol, which will be red on packaging and uncolored on the actual product, is a bit of a compromise.
Dan Anglin, chairman of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, opposed the original proposal which was the shape of a stop sign.
"It was a political statement: 'stop THC,'" Anglin said.
The diamond shape is the second proposal.
But the group Smart Colorado, a non-profit concerned with the health and safety impacts of legalized marijuana, said the new logo is too mild.
"We're afraid it is really going to be hard to see," said Gina Carbone with Smart Colorado.
Carbone said the red stop sign served two purposes. The first was it communicated to very young children that the item was something that they needed to stop and not ingest. And the bold bright color on the product itself could be easily identified from a distance by teachers in school and law enforcement looking for minors consuming marijuana.
"It's a great symbol for people to pause, consider what they're doing. You look both ways and then you proceed," Carbone said.
Anglin said he knows the public expects something to be done, and many manufacturers are open to the idea.
But he thinks that regulations requiring that medical marijuana be sold in childproof containers (something that was already required for recreational pot) put an end to the rash of accidental child ingestion incidents that had occurred.
"What we need is people to be intellectually honest," Anglin said, asking for data to be reviewed first about the number of accidental ingestions that have occurred since the law change.
Members of both organizations were among hundreds of people who attended the rule-making hearing Monday and voiced their thoughts on the logo.
The hearing covered much more than the new logo however.
New rules are being proposed to set marijuana equivalences (how much edibles and concentrates can be sold at a time to equal the 1 oz. legal limit of flower). Another rule deals with acceptable levels of contaminates like mold found in a product before it must be destroyed and not sold. Rules are being set for how hemp (a low THC cousin to marijuana) will be tested, and another rule deals with permitting loans from out of state to marijuana businesses.
All of this, and much more, was outlined in two roughly 150-page documents put out by the Marijuana Enforcement Division after extensive working groups met on the issues. One of the documents is for recreational retail marijuana which voters made legal in 2012 and the other is for medical marijuana which voters legalized in 2000.
After the Marijuana Enforcement Division concludes gathering public comment, a hearing officer will make recommendations to the executive director of the Department of Revenue who will then make the final decision on the rules.
Contact Megan Schrader