By Mark Ackerman
DENVER (CBS4)– The State of Colorado released hundreds of pages of new rules designed to make the marijuana industry safer for consumers.
The new rules require more frequent lab testing of marijuana products for potency, pesticides and other contaminants.
Just this month, the Marijuana Enforcement Division recalled marijuana products from two separate grow operations, Starbuds and Tree of Wellness, for use of banned pesticides.
“We have found through our testing to date is we have a 90 to 92% compliance rate when we go out and do our tests,” said Mike Hartman, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.
“This expands the program to make sure we are doing it on a more frequent basis to maintain public health and public safety.”
The rules also outlaw any marijuana packaging that could be construed as “attractive to minors.”
There will also be a new look to marijuana labels, making them easier to read and understand, especially in the case of an accidental overdose.
The goal is to have the right information on a marijuana label to provide vital information for an emergency room doctor.
“An emergency room doctor can look at the sample size, the potency associated with it and identify what is the best course of treatment for his patient,” Hartman said.
In a move that marijuana activists applaud, regulators are also trying to cut through some red tape to help make Colorado an incubator for marijuana research.
“It simplifies and streamlines barriers in place to conducting Cannabis research in Colorado,” said Jordan Wellington, a policy expert for the marijuana law firm Vicente Sederberg.
“Overall, we are pleased with how things ended up. While nothing is perfect and no group got exactly what they wanted, we saw many examples of a very functional relationship between regulators and the industry it regulates,” said Wellington.
Hartman said he sifted through six binders filled with public comments before issuing the rules.
“We are pleased that the MED has included industry stakeholders in the rulemaking process, which represents some of the most substantive and complex rules to date,” said Kristi Kelly Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group. “We look forward to reviewing the final rules and hearing our members’ feedback.”
“Every single rule that we look at, we do so through the lens of public health and public safety, so I feel like we struck the right balance this time,” said Hartman.
The new rules take effect January 1, 2018.