Know your Symbols - A Visual Guide to the Cannabis Symbols of North America
Infused Edibles can take many forms, candies, chocolate, gummies; but how can you tell an edible from a regular candy?
THC-infused edibles are the fastest growing sector in the cannabis consumables market. Safe consumption has been a hot topic in many States, resulting in the creation of regulations to establish safeguards for the public. A few surefire ways have been put forward; to ban any resemblance to mainstream candy, restrict shapes and designs to make them less appealing to children, and even restrict how products can be advertised.
The simple fact however remains; a bare product in your hand, with no packaging, no labeling, could be anything. Even adults may struggle to spot the difference between an edible and a regular candy. And so began the creation of the first cannabis warning symbol for products containing cannabis, specifically THC.
On October 1, 2016, Oregon released a symbol for use on cannabis products. This paved the way for the use of symbols to determine cannabis content. But this symbol was only required on the labeling of a product - was this enough?
Colorado went one step further that very same year - a direct imprint of the symbol itself onto the physical edible. The Colorado THC Symbol, or the ‘Universal Symbol’, quickly became the ‘recognized’ symbol.
Universal? Yes. Adopted elsewhere? Yes (Florida, Ohio, and a variant in New Mexico). The success of the Colorado Symbol led to the creation of a symbol in Massachusetts, which in turn became a stable symbol for a number of States in New England.
The Universal Symbol, however, almost seemed set to become the face of edibles in North America (hence the name). Did it? Not entirely. As of 2022, there are approximately 18 symbols across North America.
It is worth noting that not all States require symbols to be printed directly on to an edible, but packaging and labeling regulations have been introduced to ensure products (whether individual servings, or mass packaged) are marked appropriately.
THC Regulatory Symbols
Here we have a list of current THC Regulatory Symbols, by State (as of July 2022).
Alaska THC Symbol
Alaska is yet to adopt a symbol, however there is strong backing from the Board of Directors of Doctors of Cannabis Regulation. It is anticipated that the symbol for Alaska will contain the cannabis leaf from the Standardized IICPS (International Intoxicating Cannabis Product Symbol).
Arkansas THC Symbol
Designed for Medical Use, the Arkansas Department of Health required from 2016 that any packaging should contain the distinct AMM symbol, in a size no smaller than 0.48 x 0.35 inches.
California THC Symbol
The California symbol was developed by the Department of Cannabis Control for all external packaging across all packaged Cannabis products.
Canada THC Symbol
Developed by Health Canada, the standardized cannabis symbol must appear on the label of all cannabis products that contain THC in a concentration greater than 10 micrograms per gram.
Colorado THC Symbol
Developed by the Colorado Department of Revenue in 2016, the 'Universal Symbol' is also used in Florida and Ohio. Colorado requires the symbol to be stamped onto the edible itself.
Delaware THC Symbol
Based on the Oklahoma symbol, and with similarities to Oregon, the State of Delaware Medical Marijuana Code regulates that each serving should be marked appropriately.
Florida THC Symbol
The 2021 Florida Statutes adopted use of the Colorado ‘Universal Symbol’ for Medical Marijuana Packaging.
Maine THC Symbol
The Office of Cannabis Policy for the State of Maine chose to partner with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, and share usage of the existing Massachusetts Symbol. The symbol must appear on each edible serving, in no less than 0.25 by 0.25 inches in size.
Maryland THC Symbol
Developed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the Maryland Symbol is a requirement for all packaging for Medical Cannabis Products in the State.
Massachusetts THC Symbol
One of the earliest developed State Symbols, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is responsible for regulation. Current Regulations require the symbol must appear on each edible serving. A secondary ‘Not Safe for Kids’ logo was also developed for outer packaging.
Michigan THC Symbol
Updated by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the State of Michigan adopted its own Symbol for use in all products as regulated under the Administrative Rules for the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act.
Missouri THC Symbol
The Revised Statutes of Missouri brought an amended take to the Colorado Universal Symbol in 2020, requiring each package contain the symbol along with “the letter ‘M’ located under the ‘THC’ in the diamond, to signify that the product is for medical purposes”.
Montana THC Symbol
Beginning January 1 2022, the State of Montana adopted the IICPS Marijuana Symbol, with the wording ‘Marijuana’ added to the design. The general labeling requirements dictate a minimum size of 0.33 by 0.33 inches.
New Jersey THC Symbol
Also adopting the IICPS Marijuana Symbol, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission requires edibles be marked with the adopted symbol, in a size no smaller than 0.25 by 0.25 inches.
New Mexico THC Symbol
The New Mexico Department of Health developed a ‘Universal THC Warning Symbol’ back in 2020, that requires printing directly onto chocolates, soft confections, hard confections, lozenges, pressed pills, and capsules.
New York THC Symbol
New York recently designed and introduced a THC Warning Symbol, however the State became a first in combining three symbols into one design (the THC element shown above); requiring the symbols be affixed to packaging of any edible and beverage cannabis product in the State.
Nevada THC Symbol
January 1, 2019 saw the introduction of the Nevada State Symbol, requiring products that are ‘practical to stamp or mold’ be stamped accordingly. Nevada went one step further in stating any other way of demarking edibles be approved at a State Level.
Ohio THC Symbol
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy indicated use of the Colorado Universal Symbol from May 2019, requiring each serving be marked with the Symbol - the main purpose being to ‘protect public health in reducing the risk of accidental ingestion’.
Oklahoma THC Symbol
The Oklahoma Universal THC Symbol, developed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, was published in April 2022. The symbol must appear in its designated color in a size no smaller than 0.6 by 0.85 inches.
Oregon THC Symbol
October 1, 2016 saw the introduction of the Oregon Cannabis Symbol. This symbol is required on all Cannabis products sold within the State. The State also release two further logos, a Hemp logo of the same design (but blue in color), and a Medical Cannabis logo (a red ‘M’ within a red circle).
Rhode Island THC Symbol
The Office of Cannabis Regulation introduced the Massachusetts Symbol in March 2020. May 2022 saw the legalization of recreational cannabis in the State.
Vermont THC Symbol
The State of Vermont appears to use the same symbol as Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island, however there is a subtle difference. Where the overall design of the symbol is the same, the State appears to have adopted the IICPS leaf instead of the existing leaf on the Massachusetts symbol. The regulations dictate its usage as no less than 0.25 by 0.25 inches. Think you can use the Massachusetts symbol instead? That’s not the case - the State indicates the symbol cannot be modified in any manner.
Washington THC Symbol
The State of Washington updated labeling policies in 2019. The distinct symbol is used for all labeling of cannabis products, along with a secondary ‘Not for Kids’ logo.
The Future of THC Symbols
With just under half of the United States yet to achieve legal cannabis legislation (if at all), it is possible that further symbols will be designed/created/recreated at a State Level. It also remains to be seen if the IICPS symbol could become the primary symbol for cannabis use. One thing to be sure of is that symbols are not going away. The adoption of symbols has proven to be effective in safeguarding the public from accidental ingestion of cannabis products.
Bold Maker THC Molds
At Bold Maker, we constantly monitor legislation in all 50 States and beyond, keeping up to date with changes. While regulation is ultimately the responsibility of the candy manufacturer, we ensure we are up to speed in order to help you create compliant gummies. With the World's biggest selection of regulatory molds, you can be sure there is a mold for you.
Contact us today to learn more about what we do, and see how we can help you take your production to the next level.
Disclaimer - this article is intended for reading purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Legislation across the Country and beyond constantly adapts and changes, and we strongly recommend either speaking to a representative at State Level, or seeking legal advice prior to designing a product, or commencing production.
This post was edited 7/23/2022 with an updated Canada logo. Our thanks go to Lyall McGovern for spotting the omission.