With the support of other stakeholder organisations, Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) are urging cannabis regulators around the world to mandate the use of the International Intoxicating Cannabinoid Product Symbol (IICPS).
The symbol is designed to alert consumers that whatever product it is applied to contains an intoxicating cannabinoid; e.g. tetrahydrocannabinol in one of its various forms. This could help prevent cases of accidental ingestion.
“The 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,” says DFCR.
When designing such symbols, a number of criteria need to be met to satisfy relevant standards. These include not using any alphanumeric characters or punctuation (aside from an exclamation mark in some cases), and for it to be readily associated for the meaning it is conveying.
“Safety symbols that include text within the symbol discriminate against already marginalized communities on the basis of age, culture, language, literacy, knowledge of the Latin alphabet, and education.”
However, DFCR says this doesn’t stop adoption of the symbol with supplemental text that meets a jurisdiction’s particular needs.
The IICPS was approved as a standalone consensus standard by ASTM International’s Committee D37; passing with a unanimous vote of over 200 members on its first ballot in early 2022. Now bearing the official designation of ASTM D8441, it was the first cannabis labeling consensus standard in the world.
Several US states have already adopted use of the symbol – Montana, New Jersey, Vermont and South Dakota. Other states have adopted other symbols, leading to inconsistency and potential consumer confusion. DFCR, which includes a table of all these various symbols in its release, indicates how they compare in terms of related standards – and all others appear to fail the grade.
Among the other 21 stakeholder organisations on board with the global adoption of the IICPS as a mandated “universal symbol” to be printed on all intoxicating cannabis product packages are Americans For Safe Access, the National Cannabis Industry Association, and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).