Editor’s note: The post was originally published on the BlueKudu website.
By Andrew Schrot
Since launching an edibles cannabis company in Denver five years ago, I have seen regulations go through a multitude of changes involving rules for child-resistant packaging, the defining of a single dose for recreational consumers and a ban on fruit-shaped cannabis-infused gummies. The latest change in regulations goes into effect October 1, 2016, when edibles makers will be required to stamp each individual 10mg serving with a new so-called Universal Symbol – a diamond shape surrounding “THC” and an exclamation point.
Of course, this will not be the last change we can expect. Colorado is at the forefront of this nascent industry growing at a rapid rate and factors such as safety, regulation, testing and compliance standards will continue to evolve as issues arise.
Are these changes easy for cannabusiness enterprise to manage? No. Do I support all of the regulations that have been instituted so far? Yes, wholeheartedly. Safety and transparency, both for consumers and for children, should continue to be top priorities.
How We’ve Implemented New Regulations
At BlueKudu, we not only welcomed the Universal Symbol warning stamp, we also chose to include a precise milligram amount of THC on each 10 mg single dose. Only the warning symbol was required, but we felt it was important to provide as much information to the consumer as possible, so we went above and beyond.
To make room on the chocolate bar for the new symbol and single dose milligram stamps, we had to increase our chocolate bar size by 33%. This change required the creation of 2,500 custom molds at a cost over $30,000. We also had to change our packaging as the new larger sized chocolate bars would no longer fit into our child-resistant medical tube containers. Using the most advanced child-resistant packaging available from Ecobliss, we introduced a new custom rectangular shaped package that meets the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division regulations.
All of these changes came at a significant expense and required several months to complete, but the cost is well worth the effort to increase the transparency and credibility of our product and the industry.
What Regulations Don’t Address
Child Safety Education: We now have a Universal Symbol for edible products in Colorado, a change brought to fruition in order to protect children by providing an image that was designed to make edibles recognizable outside of its packaging.
Hopefully, this symbol reduces incidents involving accidental consumption by children. However, without an education effort, something which could be incorporated into school health curricula or local D.A.R.E. programs and campaigns aimed at parents, children may not understand what the Universal Symbol means. Proper education and awareness will go a long way toward protecting the safety of children.
Stringent Testing Requirements: Right now, if you walk into a dispensary and buy an edible product, the state requires the amount of THC or CBD in the product to measure within 15% of the amount stated on its label. A 100 mg bar could contain anywhere from 85 to 115 mg and still meet state requirements. While this is much more reliable than edibles sold in the early days of the industry, I believe we can do better.
BlueKudu only sells products that test within 8% of our printed label amount and we aim for testing within 5%. Our customers know what they are getting and can trust and rely on our product. As production techniques are improved, we hope to achieve an even closer match between actual dosing and the ideal amount on the label. Sharpening state required testing standards can only bring about positive change and help further legitimize the industry as a whole.
The nation looks to Colorado to set an example on quality, standards, regulation, and safety. Being a pioneer is not easy, but we’ve come a long way in a short time. With further refinement, together we can move forward and create a positive model for other states as they legalize medical and recreational marijuana.
At BlueKudu we will continue to work hard to advocate for positive change within our company and the edible cannabis industry as a whole.