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New packaging and retail restrictions will apply to marijuana concentrates in 2022.
Warning labels, information brochures, and new packaging have been suggested as options to increase commercial sales of marijuana concentrates in Colorado, but these options are only the beginning of a lengthy discussion.
A working group made up of officials from the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division and representatives from the health, government, education and cannabis industries joined on the 2nd and marijuana concentrate sectors.
Some provisions of the law fall outside the MED’s remit, including government research into the effects of high-potency THC products on mental health and some new regulations for medical marijuana doctors. However, there are several regulations that affect the MED.
During the last legislature, lobbies representing parents, public educators, and health care professionals pushed for increasing restrictions on teenage medical marijuana patients and the sale of concentrations, citing data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showing that the Use of extracted marijuana products more than doubled among teenagers who smoke marijuana from 2015 to 2019, as well as research suggesting THC may affect brain development by the age of 25.
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HB 1317 was signed by Governor Jared Polis in June after a quick but bumpy ride through the Colorado Legislature) and is introducing stricter packaging and labeling guidelines for medical and recreational marijuana concentrate products.
While the recreational pot industry eventually backed HB 1317, the medical marijuana community will bear the brunt of most of the law’s new restrictions – and a 19-year-old medical marijuana patient has sued Polis for signing the law. But business owners on both sides of the weeding are already tired of the new packaging regulations.
The bill originally stipulated that all concentrated THC products should be individually packaged in servings of ten per gram, similar to how food is currently packaged. However, following opposition from the pot industry, this language has been replaced by a directive designed to allow the MED to oversee the creation of new packaging rules that will come into effect in 2022.
“We’re not suggesting that you measure this or include any particular measurement,” Shannon Fender, director of public affairs for Native Roots pharmacy chain, said during the hearing. “The difference between the purity of the products, whatever the [THC] Percent is, it will be a different amount. Chances are that trying to get this specific measurement could encourage people to overuse. ”
Marijuana concentrate can now reach over 90 percent THC, although most extractions sold in pharmacies are between 60 and 75 percent. Pharmacy and marijuana extractor owners argue that breaking products down to tenths and twentieths would not only be expensive, but also potentially confusing and dangerous for users, since potent THC products are generally in very small amounts relative to the grams, in which they are sold, consumed.
At the hearing, Fender and the Marijuana Industry Group proposed a QR code directing consumers to warning and dosage recommendations on their phones, but proponents of the new law weren’t, and were not convinced
were advocates of the medical marijuana industry for patients living in poverty or in rural areas.
“We have to start somewhere with the packaging,” said Henny Lasley, executive director of One Chance to Grow Up (formerly known as SMART Colorado), an organization dedicated to protecting commercial marijuana from children. At the hearing, One Chance to Grow Up and Blue Rising Colorado, a PAC campaigning for HB 1317, argued that all packaging of marijuana concentrates, including vaporizer products, had clear labels or tags detailing the mental health risks of Marijuana should be attached.
New restrictions on purchasing medical marijuana concentrates were also discussed, as HB 1317 allows certain patients in distress to purchase more than 8 grams per day due to their disability, transportation problems, and proximity to pharmacies. Medical marijuana and recreational pot industry medical groups want doctors to be able to make exceptions, but Blue Rising fought the notion, arguing that a doctor recommending marijuana is more likely to appease a patient than the medical reality to consider.
The MED has planned further hearings on HB 1317 regulations for August 11th, 16th and 20th and for September 14th, with decision recommendations being made to the state on November 1st.