It can't be easy – or cheap – having to adapt to a whole new set of industry regulations on a regular basis. Edibles companies in Colorado know this better than anyone, as they are constantly having to evolve their practices in a state-wide effort to keep cannabis products out of the wrong hands.
Andrew Schrot, CEO of edibles manufacturer BlueKudu, isn’t complaining, however, about the most recent regulations, which came into effect October 1. The new rules include a requirement that edible cannabis products come with a diamond-shaped THC stamp on both the packaging and on the edibles themselves. They may be costly and time-consuming, but Schrot saw them coming. If anything, he’s ready (and, in some respects, even asking) for more.
“The industry has made great progression as far as consumer education and the safety of edibles,” said Schrot, adding that these latest changes “came at a significant expense” upwards of $30,000 and required several months to complete.
“I feel like the universal [THC] symbol is a great start to the process of... making cannabis-infused products more noticeable… but I think as far as the expectations for kids, it’s tough to think that that symbol would deter them from [consuming] it, without some education behind it.”
Schrot's views are representative of an industry that wants to be proactive about addressing concerns about children. Dan Anglin, CEO of Americanna, understands why people are afraid of candy-like infused products that could appeal to children, but he says the solution is not to eliminate them from the marketplace.
"I think we did a fairly good job of fighting the Smart Colorado folks on their desire to eliminate candy from marijuana offerings, but why I ended up leaving was that I felt the marijuana industry should address these concerns people have, that there's confusion when you take edibles out of the packaging," Anglin told Civilized in an interview earlier this year. "When you take it out of the package, the parents don't know whether the kids have regular candy or marijuana candy."
Schrot detailed his concerns in a blog posted to the BlueKudu website shortly before the new regulations came into effect last weekend. In it, he argues that: “without an education effort, something which could be incorporated into school health curricula or local D.A.R.E. programs and campaigns aimed at parents, children may not understand what the Universal Symbol means. Proper education and awareness will go a long way toward protecting the safety of children.”
“From that perspective, I think this is a great start in that there’s something for us to [work] with,” Schrot told Civilized.
“But as far as hitting the people we’re looking to hit, as far as keeping the product away from youth, there needs to be some education behind it so they know exactly what that symbol means.”
Schrot is so open to all the changes his company has endured (along with those sure to be coming down the line) largely due to the fact that “it’s just a new industry.” Constant adjustments are a part of the process you have to expect and accept when you enter into this kind of burgeoning and ever-evolving business, he says. If you can’t anticipate them and refuse to accept them, the answer is simple: you won’t succeed.
“The industry is just evolving so much and with Colorado being at the forefront, there’s just new information coming out all the time,” said Schrot, who adds that industry regulators have so far been very fair and transparent in their dealings with companies like BlueKudu.
“You have to put yourself as a business owner in the financial position to where when these changes come, you have the financial resources to be able to adjust to these changes… You don’t want to put yourself in a place where you skip any regulations because in this industry, compliancy is number one.”
The stamping requirement comes along with extensive labeling and packaging rules that include childproof zippers and lids, paired with warnings that the product should be kept away from children and not eaten before driving or while pregnant or nursing.