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Doctors for Drug Policy Reform Gathers Support for New York State to Adopt Universal Cannabis Product Symbol

Doctors for Drug Policy Reform Gathers Support for New York State to Adopt Universal Cannabis Product Symbol

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D4DPR Updates
January 30, 2023
Regulatory (cannabis)

D4DPR (formerly DFCR) and 23 other organizations urge New York officials to adopt the International Intoxicating Cannabinoid Product Symbol (IICPS) 

Press release January 30, 2023

WASHINGTON - January 30, 2023 -- Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), the global voice for physicians and other health professionals to advance the legalization and science-based regulation of cannabis, has submitted a letter to the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) urging them to adopt the International Intoxicating Cannabinoid Product Symbol (IICPS) for all cannabis product packages sold in New York State. Twenty three other organizations have signed on as well.

The letter was officially addressed to Chair Tremaine Wright (CCB) and Executive Director Christopher Alexander (OCM). In the summer of 2022, the OCM proposed a universal symbol for cannabis product labels, which was presented to the CCB and slightly revised in December 2022. As a response to the CCB’s call for comment on the proposed OCM symbol, DFCR and the other signatories have concluded that the current symbol, as is, has several severe deficiencies in its design and function:

  • It’s overly complex, which dilutes the fundamental public safety function of the cannabis product symbol, which is to allow all people – regardless of age, culture, education, or literacy – to identify a cannabis product with a quick glance.
  • Those behind the symbol would require that all cannabis packages be printed in four colors – black, white, red, and yellow, which would be a burden on small businesses already facing barriers to entry into the cannabis space due to the major expenses required to start a legal business. 
  • The current symbol would most likely need to be updated in the next few years because the term “THC” which is included on the symbol, assumes that the intoxicating effects of cannabis are solely based upon THC content. While currently unregulated, there are products containing other cannabinoids that are also intoxicating. Such products will likely merit labeling with the cannabis product symbol in the future, even if those products do not contain THC.
  • DFCR and the other signatories propose utilizing the IICPS, because this symbol is based upon existing consensus standards developed in an open environment to ensure public safety and promote best practices through collaboration by professionals from both the public and private sectors. The symbol contains a cannabis leaf, which is universally associated with cannabis, enclosed in a familiar black-bordered yellow warning triangle. To date, the IICPS has been incorporated into the cannabis product symbols in Montana, Vermont and New Jersey.

The IICPS was developed through a collaboration between DFCR and ASTM International, meeting a list of requirements including being able to simply communicate a public health message of “Caution with Cannabis,” using the simplest possible design to fit within an allotted space and incorporating a symbol that transcends age, language, culture, literacy, and knowledge of cannabis and the Latin alphabet. 

Read the Full Letter Below
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