Colorado Adopts New Universal Cannabis Warning Symbol

colorado universal marijuana symbol

By Spencer Ward

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has changed how retail and medical marijuana products will warn people they contain THC. After an October 2017 regulation requiring different symbols for different products, the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) and CDPHE have settled on a single, universal symbol. An upright diamond with the letters “THC” in the middle and beneath an exclamation point, it was adopted to simplify the message and reduce any confusion that could result from multiple warnings.

After the October 2017 regulation, medical and retail marijuana flower symbols were to appear similar except for an “M” on medical products that was below the “THC” in the diamond-shaped symbol. Now they are identical, but still different from the symbol used for marijuana-infused products, such as edibles and concentrates. The symbol used for flower packaging will be red, while the symbol used for marijuana-infused products packaging will be black.

The change takes effect immediately, according to the MED bulletin, but there are “optional use periods” for businesses to sell their existing inventories, meaning compliance won’t be required until 2019. Officials in Colorado are optimistic about the change. Mike Hartman, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue, said in a statement accompanying the announcement, “The adoption of a single universal symbol is part of our ongoing effort to protect public health and safety by enhancing consumers’ ability to identify products containing marijuana and reducing confusion stemming from two distinct symbols.”

Regulations are usually a thorn in the side of industry, but this may be welcome news to Colorado cannabis businesses. A permanent, universal symbol could mean the end of changes to it by the CDPHE. Colorado joins Oregon and California in using a universal symbol. That is not to say that all these states share the same symbol. They are different. But when federal legalization once and for all begins, you can be sure to see a push for a truly universal warning symbol for all cannabis products sold in the U.S. A pipe dream? Time will tell.


Author bio: Spencer is a longtime cannabis advocate, hiking enthusiast, and current Treasurer of Denver NORML. If he isn’t hiking somewhere in the Rockies, he’ll likely be found at a live show. Spencer is a firm believer that cannabis and an active lifestyle go hand-in-hand.

Johnny Green
About Johnny Green 2429 Articles
Johnny Green is a cannabis activist from Oregon. Johnny has a bachelor's degree in public policy, and believes that the message should always be more important than the messenger. #LegalizeIt #FreeThePlant