Today was the first meeting of this year’s marijuana rulemaking working groups for the Colorado DOR’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. Today’s topic: Testing, Packaging and Labeling. The group worked on the 700, 1000 and 1500 series of rules for both medical and retail marijuana (links below).
Areas of interest or concern:
Child-Resistant Packaging options for medical marijuana patients. Many disabled patients are unable to open CRP packaging, particularly at the level we have for marijuana. And as Jessica LaRoux pointed out in public comment, there should be options for those without kids in the home. There are options for pharmaceuticals. Alcohol, tobacco and household chemicals aren’t held to this high standard when we know they can have lethal consequences. Regulate like plutonium?
Testing and labeling potency of cannabinoids other than THC. Many products are promoted as high-CBD or having a particular cannabinoid profile, but how are patients and consumers to know without accurate testing and labeling? If a product makes claims about the cannabinoid profile or ratio, they should be prepared to back up those claims. If someone purchases a high-CBD product, shouldn’t they have some assurance that it actually is high in CBD?
How to determine THC for labeling. This is of particular concern when it comes to edibles where the THC is assumed to be delta-9-THC. Some manufacturers want to be able to add THC-A and delta-9 together for labeling, which I believe would be misleading. When you purchase an edible, don’t you want to know that the THC you’ve paid for has been decarboxylated and will give you the desired effect? Total THC is fine for flower, but for edibles in particular, THC-A should not be included unless the product specifies it.
Fifteen percent variance on potency. The industry will be allowed a variance of plus or minus 15% on potency, which is in alignment with other industries including pharma. That means that a product that claims to have 100mg of THC could have anywhere between 85mg and 115mg and be in compliance. Currently in retail (not in medical), THC has a hard cap of 100mg with no bottom threshold. In other words, a product claiming to have 100mg can have anything up to 100mg and be in compliance. The new variance, which I think should apply to other cannabinoids, will give consumers and patients more confidence in the products they’re buying.
Third-party sampling. Essentially, the idea of having a neutral third party come in and take samples for testing is falling by the wayside. Instead, the proposed rules would allow cultivators and manufacturers to take their own samples and choose which lab does the testing. Anyone else see a problem with this? Where are the checks and balances? Patients or consumers can’t bring industry products into licensed labs for testing. There are no mystery shoppers. Why bother testing if no one is verifying the results? I was glad to hear that the MED, working with the CDPHE, plans to have a system for random sampling in place sometime in the future, but when? And will they be allowed to report the results? In regulation, there’s a restriction on labs being owned by other license categories, creating a clear separation between labs and the rest of the industry. This begs the question: Why have that restriction if there wasn’t a concern about those bad apples out there who might try to manipulate the system and how do we address that concern here? Random sampling is a good place to start.
Of course, Smart Colorado wants more warnings on labels, potency limits on medical products, and packaging that an 18-year-old can’t get into. What else is new?
Here are the proposed rules for Medical Marijuana.
Here are the proposed rules for Retail Marijuana.
Anything in red is new or changed. Anything else is existing rule.
You have until Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. to submit comments, preferably on the MED’s special form.
The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 31, 2015 and, maybe, Tuesday, September 1.
For additional information, please visit the MED website.