As a Colorado Cannabis industry regulatory trainer and compliance consultant, I hear a lot of complaints. Topping the list are that Colorado’s Cannabis regulations are ever-changing and overly complex. As written, many rules appear to be subject to interpretation, and the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is slow to respond to an ever-increasing number of industry inquiries.
However, I believe the MED has been outstanding in keeping up with industry growth and innovation. Ever since the initial passage of Colorado’s Cannabis legislation, who could have predicted the staggering expansion, flood of products, and processes available today? If the Federal Government had their way, there would be no Cannabis industry.
In my view, the State of Colorado, specifically the MED, has done a tremendous job in establishing and maintaining the regulatory framework to allow the industry to not only grow, but to flourish. The natural and unfortunate consequence of that success is the continual need for oftentimes complex regulatory change.
One of the more important areas of Cannabis law is that of packaging and labeling of products. Cannabis products must be transferred to consumers in packaging that is resealable, child-resistant, and not transparent. Packaging is meant to protect children, teens, and unsuspecting adults from accidentally eating marijuana products. The use of compliant packaging is an important storage and safety consideration.
Colorado’s Cannabis rules may be found within the Code of Colorado Regulations 1 CCR 212-1 (Medical) and 1 CCR 212-2 (Retail). Most current medical marijuana packaging and labeling requirements may be found within the M 1000 series of rules. And, most current retail marijuana packaging and labeling requirements may be found within the R 1000 series.
During the period of January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 marijuana businesses have the option of complying with the current 1000 series of rules or with the newly established 1000-1 series. During this six-month transitional period, marijuana businesses must be fully compliant with at least one of those two packaging and labeling series. Beginning July 1, 2018, however, the 1000 series of rules is repealed, and compliance to the newly established 1000-1 series will become mandatory.
So, what’s the difference?
First, it’s important to note the bulk of these rules remain the same. Both series prohibit packaging and labeling for consumers under the age of 21, cartoons, caricatures, and the word “candy” or “candies.”
The labeling requirements in these rules apply to all containers regarding Cannabis. The primary difference between the two series is that rules in the new 1000-1 series have been simplified and reorganized for better comprehension and ease of use. The MED seeks to minimize–to the extent practicable–the burden of labeling compliance to Cannabis licensees.
Series 1001-1 rules contain the minimum packaging and labeling requirements prior to transfer to another Cannabis business or establishment. Series 1002-1 rules contain the minimum packaging and labeling requirements prior to transfer to a final consumer or patient. And Series 1003-1 rules contain additional labeling requirements for the product’s intended use prior to transfer to a consumer or patient, specifically regarding Inhalation, Oral Consumption, or Skin and Body products. The labeling requirements of series 1003-1 are in addition to, not in lieu of, the labeling requirements in series 1002-1.
Series 1001-1 rules identify information that is required on all labels to provide information necessary for the MED to regulate the cultivation, production, and sale of Cannabis, Cannabis Concentrate, and Cannabis Product by and between Cannabis businesses. Series 1002-1 rules identify information that is required on all labels to allow consumers to make informed decisions, and for first responders in the event of accidental ingestion, over ingestion, or allergic reaction. Lastly, Series 1003-1 rules define additional labeling requirements for Cannabis, Cannabis Concentrate, and/or Cannabis Product, based on its intended use, prior to transfer to a consumer or patient.
Packaging and labeling requirements are transitioning up to main-stream products. The introduction of these rules should not be mistaken as regulatory hurdles, instead, view them as a positive step-forward for the industry. So, don’t fear, embrace the rules to stay ahead of the game in this every changing and growing Industry.
About the Author,
Ren Gobris is the Founder and Owner of Cannabis Regulatory Solutions (CRS), a Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) approved Responsible Vendor Program training provider. CRS also offers Cultivator Training as well as cannabis consulting services. Ren was the co-founder and co-owner of Kind ReDesigned, a marijuana waste disposal company. He is a current co-owner of Saving Earth, Inc.