Colorado Pot Products to Adopt New Universal Symbol on Packaging

Retail cannabis products already carry the red THC symbol.
Retail cannabis products already carry the red THC symbol. Jacqueline Collins
The way that cannabis products are packaged and labeled has been both a concern for government officials and an irritant for the commercial pot industry, but now the State of Colorado believes it's found a solution. Beginning in 2019, all cannabis packaging in this state must have a universal "THC" symbol on the label.

Previous packaging rules required that all retail pot products bear a single universal symbol. The new rules require that medical products carry the same "THC" symbol inside a red diamond, but now infused products must carry an additional symbol, too.

The labeling requirements were chosen after extensive stakeholder conversations in 2017, with the Colorado Department of Revenue and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment making the final decision.

Colorado Department of Revenue
"Whether it's used on retail or medical marijuana products, the universal symbol helps both consumers and non-consumers easily identify that a product contains THC and avoid unintentional ingestion,” CDPHE Deputy Executive Director Karin McGowan says in a statement announcing the decision. “We're confident that the integration of a single symbol will help streamline our public health message, which focuses on the importance of educating yourself, young people and out-of-town guests about what the symbol means."

Although the rules were adopted "immediately," according to a DOR announcement, cannabis businesses will have a little time to make the switch. The symbols on retail products aren't mandatory until January 1, 2019, and medical products have until July 1, 2019, to make the switch.

According to DOR executive director Mike Hartman, creating the standardized diamond symbol was essential for universal recognition of cannabis products. “The adoption of a single universal symbol is part of our ongoing effort to protect public health and safety by enhancing consumers’ ability to identify products containing marijuana and reducing confusion stemming from two distinct symbols,” he says in a statement that accompanied the DOR announcement. “One truly universal symbol also works to simplify and improve industry compliance with regard to packaging and labeling.”
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell