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Beginning Saturday, medical and recreational marijuana edibles and other cannabis products manufactured in Colorado will be stamped with a new “universal symbol” aimed at raising public safety awareness.

The universal symbol — a diamond enclosing the notations “! THC” or “! THC M” — is part of a bundle of new state marijuana regulations going into effect on Oct. 1. In addition to new equivalency regulations for retail marijuana, other rules effective Saturday include the barring of the words “candy” or “candies” in marijuana products as well as the inclusion of potency and contaminant testing information.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are partnering to educate the public about the new regulations.

“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,” said Jim Burack, director of the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

The new rules are as follows, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Division:

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. 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.

Retail sales transaction changes effective Oct. 1:

As a result of House Bill 1261, recreational marijuana stores can sell up to an ounce of retail marijuana and its equivalent in concentrate or other product to residents and non-residents who are 21 years of age and older, according to state revenue department officials. Non-edible and non-psychoactive products, such as ointments and lotions, do not count toward the purchase limit.

• One ounce of retail marijuana flower shall be equivalent to eight grams of retail marijuana concentrate.

• One ounce of retail marijuana flower shall be equivalent to 80 10-milligram servings of THC in retail marijuana product.

Starting Oct. 1, Colorado marijuana edibles must have a THC symbol on each serving. (Provided by Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division)

The new regulations have been in the works for more than a year and are the result of discussions of state officials and a wide assortment of industry stakeholders.

“We fully expect complete compliance,” Burack said. “And I think that licensees that we have worked with consistently as we have crafted the rule, share the concern about public safety and the necessity and understand the intent of the statute.”

Edibles maker BlueKudu has spent the past couple of months prepping and adapting to the upcoming changes, said Andrew Schrot, chief executive officer of the Denver-based firm.

“It was a bit of a financial cost for us,” he said. “We had to buy all new molds. Fortunately, for chocolate bars, this is something that we’re relatively used to.”

And for individual squares of the chocolate to bear an imprinted marking also wasn’t something incredibly out of the ordinary, he said.

The purchasing of 2,500 new molds and the pulling of the soon-to-be non-compliant products from dispensaries likely cost BlueKudu about $80,000, Schrot estimated.

It’s the cost of doing business, Schrot said.

“You always want to be in a position, both strategically and financially, to be able to work with the change in regulations,” he said.

Schrot suggested in a blog post this week that the rules be taken a step further and weaved into drug education efforts such as D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).

“While I do believe there is some education required behind that, I do believe this is a positive step in using edibles in a safe manner,” he said in an interview.

More information on the new regulations and the public health, education and safety efforts are available at GoodToKnowColorado.com and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division website.

An example of packaging for Colorado marijuana edibles that features the medical marijuana THC symbol. (Provided by Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division)