- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2016

Colorado’s landmark legal marijuana system will be subject to new rules and regulations starting Saturday when several new public safety measures aimed at the Centennial State’s billion-dollar cannabis industry begin taking effect.

Marijuana-laced edibles made to be sold at Colorado’s legal pot shops must bear a certain branding before being stocked on the shelves of the state’s recreational and medical dispensaries effective Oct. 1.

The new rules require each single, standardized serving of an edible marijuana product to be individually stamped with a universal symbol: a diamond containing the letters “THC” for tetrahydrocannabinol, the drug’s main psychoactive ingredient.

“The symbol will help both consumers and non-consumers easily identify marijuana products, understand what a standard serving size is and avoid unintentional ingestion,” explained the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division. “Equally important, these rules will allow parents, school officials and other authorities to identify marijuana products even when not in packaging.”

“The No. 1 goal here: It’s about public safety, it’s about public health and, above all, it’s sensitive to the risk this poses to children,” Jim Burack, the division’s director, told The Cannabist.

Manufacturers must begin branding all marijuana-infused edibles offered in Colorado with the symbol starting Saturday — the first marijuana labeling law of its kind to be implemented in the United States, The Associated Press reported. Additionally, the new rules will officially make it illegal for edible makers to put the words “candy” or “candies” on their products unless it is part of the company’s name.

“We want to ensure that people genuinely know the difference between a Duncan Hines brownie and a marijuana brownie, just by looking at it,” Democratic State Rep. Jonathan Singer, a proponent of the labeling law, told AP.

Dispensaries, meanwhile, must start applying labels containing potency and containment testing information to all other pot products being sold, as well as the warning: “Contains Marijuana. Keep out of the reach of children.” Items that aren’t appropriately labeled will become illegal beginning Dec. 1, giving the state’s 500-plus pot shops a full month to make sure its up to snuff.

“It’s good, because people know what’s in the product, what cautionary measures that they have to take before taking the product. Let’s say if they’re allergic to it or something like that, then that’s fine,” Michael Stetler, owner of the Marisol Therapeutics dispensary in Pueblo, Colorado, told KRDO-TV.

Some stakeholders in Colorado’s cannabis industry have already suffered financial setbacks as a result of the new rules, however, but said it’s simply the cost of doing business. The CEO of Denver-based edible company BlueKudu, for example, told The Cannabist that he’s spent around $80,000 between ordering new molds for his chocolate bars and pulling unlabeled products from dispensaries.

“You always want to be in a position, both strategically and financially, to be able to work with the change in regulations,” CEO Andrew Schrot said in an interview this week.

In Oregon, Saturday will mark one year to the date since dispensaries there began legally selling marijuana to recreational customers. Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia have since passed measures of their own giving adults the right to possess pot, and ballot measures pertaining to either recreational or medical programs will be weighed by voters in nine states when polls open on Nov. 8.

As of July, Colorado’s legal marijuana industry was expected to surpass $1 billion in sales by November.

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