DFCR Gathers Support for New York State to Adopt Universal Cannabis Product Symbol
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 two 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.
The full list of 23 signatories includes the nation’s largest organizations supporting public health, social justice, patient, consumer and industry advocacy in the cannabis space:
- American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA, cannabisnurses.org)
- Americans for Safe Access (ASA, safeaccessnow.org)
- American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH, atach.org)
- Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM, achemed.org)
- Cannabis Association of New York (CANY, cany.org)
- Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC, crc-coalition.org)
- Clergy for a New Drug Policy (CNDP, newdrugpolicy.org)
- Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR, dfcr.org)
- Drug Policy Alliance (DPA, drugpolicy.org)
- Immigrant Defense Project (IDP, immdefense.org)
- JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA, jlusa.org)
- JUSTÜS Foundation (justus.foundation)
- Marijuana Policy Project (MPP, mpp.org)
- Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM, minorities4medicalmarijuana.org)
- Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA, minoritycannabis.org)
- National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA, thecannabisindustry.org)
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML, norml.org)
- NYC Chapter of NORML (NYC NORML, nycnorml.org)
- Patients Out of Time (POT, patientsoutoftime.com)
- Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC, www.cannabisclinicians.org)
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP, ssdp.org)
- Unified Legacy Operators Council (UNLOC INC., unlocnow.org)
- Veterans Cannabis Coalition (VCC, veteranscannacoalition.org)
The full letter to the New York State Cannabis Control Board and the New York Office of Cannabis Management can be found here or https://www.dfcr.org/