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New Colorado rules make marijuana packaging safer for adults, less appealing to children

New universal symbol required for all marijuana packaging and products; Packaging that appeals to children prohibited

DENVER – Effective Oct. 1, Colorado will implement new rules regarding medical and retail marijuana products. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are working together to educate Coloradans about the rules, designed to promote public health and safety, raise awareness and help people more accurately identify marijuana products.

Beginning Oct. 1:

  • All new medical and retail marijuana packaging must feature the new universal symbol on the front. Medical and retail marijuana will have similar, but different symbols. Examples of the symbols can be found here and below. Packaging must include the following statement directly below the symbol: “Contains Marijuana. Keep out of the reach of children.”
  • Marijuana infused product manufacturers must comply with the new universal symbol rules by Oct. 1. By Dec. 1, retail stores and medical centers may only sell marijuana marked with the universal symbol.
  • Retail marijuana specific universal symbol rules:
    • Every single standardized serving (a serving consists of 10 mg of THC) of an edible retail marijuana product must be individually marked, stamped or imprinted with the new universal symbol.
    • When impractical to mark an edible retail marijuana product with the universal symbol, as in the case of bulk goods and powders, these products must be packaged in a single serving, child-resistant container.
    • In an edible retail marijuana product that contains multiple servings, each single standardized serving must be marked, stamped or imprinted with the universal symbol.
  • Medical marijuana specific universal symbol rules:
    • Edible medical marijuana infused products must be marked, stamped or imprinted with the universal symbol.
    • Medical marijuana infused product manufacturers may choose to determine standard portions. Each portion must be marked, stamped or imprinted with the universal symbol.

Other important marijuana packaging rules going into effect Oct. 1:

  • The words “candy” or “candies” cannot appear on marijuana or marijuana packaging, unless part of the marijuana establishment’s name.
  • Each container of medical and retail marijuana must be labeled with necessary and relevant information for consumers, including a potency statement and a contaminant testing statement. The information must be easily accessible to consumers, clear and noticeable. Health and physical benefit claims cannot be included on labels.

“Our priority is protecting the public health and safety of all Coloradans,” said Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. “We collaborated extensively with all stakeholders to develop sensible rules that will provide consumers more information about what they’re buying and to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of children. It is critical for retail and medical marijuana businesses licensed by the Department of Revenue to understand their role in implementing these new rules on time.”

The new universal symbol is a visual indicator that a product contains marijuana. The symbol will help both consumers and non-consumers easily identify marijuana products, understand what a standard serving size is and avoid unintentional ingestion. Equally important, these rules will allow parents, school officials and other authorities to identify marijuana products even when not in packaging.

“With the new universal symbol, people can more easily identify marijuana products, monitor their intake by serving size and avoid eating too much,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “And by making marijuana labels less appealing to children, we hope to keep them from accidentally eating THC and suffering the consequences.”

Images of marijuana products with the universal symbol are here. Media can use these images in their stories.

New universal symbol required for all marijuana packaging and products; Packaging that appeals to children prohibited

MED Bulletin: New Packaging and Labeling Rules and Effective Dates

Dear Marijuana Industry Stakeholders:

This Industry‐Wide Bulletin is intended to inform licensees about rules and upcoming changes regarding packaging and labeling requirements, and does not replace each licensee’s responsibility to read and comply with all applicable laws and rules.

These rule revisions are a product of an extensive stakeholder engagement process over the past year that began with direction by the General Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review of our labeling framework. The State Licensing Authority subsequently determined during rulemaking in 2016 that stakeholder involvement would be critical to success. As a result, the Marijuana Enforcement Division delayed immediate formal rulemaking in favor of a more deliberate and thoughtful process that resulted in convening stakeholders with diverse perspectives to participate in a series of focus group meetings from late 2016 to mid‐2017. Stakeholder participation in these focus groups, followed by rulemaking work groups, offered significant contributions to the regulatory developments referenced herein. The Division owes a debt of gratitude to those who contributed their time to this effort that has simplified packaging and labeling rules and enhanced compliance, and ultimately contributed to enhanced public health and safety.We remain committed to ongoing collaboration with stakeholders as we identify additional opportunities for improvement.

On January 1, 2018, the M and R 1000‐1 Series Rules establishing labeling, packaging, and product safety requirements for medical and retail marijuana, concentrate, and product, became effective (hereinafter referred to as the “ New 1000 ‐ 1 Series Rules ”). Note that the previously established M and R 1000 Series Rules for packaging, labeling, and product safety (hereinafter referred to as the “ Preceding 1000 Series Rules ”) remain effective until June 30, 2018.

Between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018, licensees have the option of fully complying with either the New 1000‐1 Series Rules or the Preceding 1000 Series Rules. However, beginning July 1, 2018, the Preceding 1000 Series Rules are repealed, and compliance with the New 1000‐1 Series Rules is mandatory, as provided below:

Medical Marijuana‐Infused Products Manufacturers, Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facilities, Optional Premises Cultivation Operations, and Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities:

  • Beginning July 1, 2018 , Medical Marijuana‐Infused Products Manufacturers, Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facilities, Optional Premises Cultivation Operations, and Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities are prohibited from transferring medical or retail marijuana, concentrate, or product (“Inventory”) packaged or labeled pursuant to the Preceding 1000 Series Rules. On July 1, 2018, all Inventory transferred by Medical Marijuana Businesses and Retail Marijuana Establishments shall be packaged and labeled pursuant to the New 1000‐1 Series Rules.

Medical Marijuana Centers and Retail Marijuana Stores :

  • Beginning July 1, 2018 , Medical Marijuana Centers and Retail Marijuana Stores shall not purchase or take possession of Inventory that is packaged or labeled pursuant to the Preceding 1000 Series Rules.
  • Limited Center and Store Sales Period ‐ Until July 1, 2019 , Medical Marijuana Centers and Retail Marijuana Stores may sell Inventory labeled pursuant to the Preceding 1000 Series Rules only if the Inventory was transferred to, and accepted by, the Medical Marijuana Center or Retail Marijuana Store prior to July 1, 2018 (this limited duration of permissible Medical Marijuana Center and Retail Marijuana Store sales are hereinafter referred to as the “Limited Center and Store Sales Period”). The Limited Center and Store Sales Period is offered to further facilitate industry transition to compliance with the New 1000‐1 Series Rules. The Limited Center and Store Sales Period is also intended to maintain collective efforts to protect public safety and reduce risks of public harm by identifying a date certain by which all labels are required to display consistent information. After July 1, 2019, under no circumstances may a Medical Marijuana Center or Retail Marijuana Store sell Inventory labeled pursuant to the Preceding 1000 Series Rules. Any Medical Marijuana Business or Retail Marijuana Establishment in possession of non‐ compliant Inventory shall follow waste disposal procedures pursuant to Rules M and R 307, 1 CCR 212‐1 and 1 CCR 212‐2.

New 1000 ‐ 1 Series Rules Summary

Permanent Medical and Retail Marijuana Rules, effective January 1, 2018, established new and amended defined terms ( see Rules M and R 103 for full definitions) applicable to packaging and labeling of Inventory, including but not limited to the following:

  •  Container
  •  Exit Package
  •  Marketing Layer  Child‐Resistant  Transfer

The New 1000‐1 Series Rules consist of three packaging and labeling rules: (1) Rules M and R 1001‐
1 establish minimum requirements for packaging and labeling prior to transfer to a Medical Marijuana Business or Retail Marijuana Establishment; (2) Rules M and R 1002‐1 establish minimum requirements for packaging and labeling prior to transfer to a patient or consumer; and (3) Rules M and R 1003‐1 establish additional labeling requirements based on the intended use of Inventory. Please note that Attachments A and B included with this Industry Bulletin are intended to provide general compliance guide regarding the New 1000‐1 Series Rules.

A complete copy of the Medical Marijuana Rules, 1 CCR 212‐1, and Retail Marijuana Rules, 1 CCR 212‐1 are accessible at the Division’s website at the following link.

Please be aware that the information contained in this Industry Bulletin and associated attachments does not represent legal advice or replace a licensee’s responsibility to read, understand, and maintain full compliance with all relevant statutes and rules.

This Industry‐Wide Bulletin is intended to inform licensees about rules and upcoming changes regarding packaging and labeling requirements, and does not replace each licensee’s responsibility to read and comply with all applicable laws and rules. ]]>