How Should Legal Pot Be Labeled?

We Want to Know More Than Just the Potency

How Should Legal Pot Be Labeled?

What do consumers know about the pot they are smoking? When people acquire medical cannabis products these days, the answer is usually very little. But with the advent of legal pot for recreational purposes, that is set to change. Under Initiative 502, the state liquor board must create rules for pot-product labeling by this December.

Mark Kleiman, the state's lead cannabis consultant, says, "One possible advantage of legalization is that people can know more accurately what they're consuming. I think there might be some way to do that."

What exactly should be on those labels, Kleiman is uncertain. He recently blogged about how pot products might be labeled, and he invited feedback. Suggestions from readers included an expiration date or harvest date, a graphical potency chart (represented by ice cream containers), and tips on properly storing pot for maximum shelf life.

I asked medical pot purveyor Mike Lick from Urban Roots, who suggested listing THC concentration in milligrams rather than percentage. "If it's 20 percent THC, that means per gram it's 200 milligrams of THC."

Whatever the liquor board ultimately decides, the label is certain to contain these five elements mandated by I-502: (1) Business name and business license number of the grower, (2) the lot number—or bud batch—the product came from, (3) THC concentration, (4) science-based health and safety information, and (5) the phrase "Warning—may be habit forming."

But simply listing THC concentration may not be that helpful. The alcohol we drink is composed of a single molecule, while pot contains at least 85 known cannabinoids. These compounds cause THC to act differently with each person's unique body chemistry. "Of course, not all consumers are the same, both in terms of their reaction to the chemicals and how much they already know [about cannabis]," says Kleiman.

One respondent to Kleiman's crowdsourcing request suggested that listing THC concentration on the label may lead some consumers to automatically reach for the most potent pot on the shelf, a concern Kleiman shares. "The risk that you just put the numbers on the label and people look for the higher number is a big one." recommended


Comments (12) RSS

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"The risk that you just put the numbers on the label and people look for the higher number is a big one."

And what is the risk here? Some choose to buy Everclear instead of Vodka. Your point?

The misconception is that stronger product is "risk" at all. This man needs to be fired as consultant if he is merely a prohibitionist flogging cyclical logic only harbored by those apathetically uninterested in the product.

Stronger cannabis will not mean anything but less smoke in the lungs, and few consumptions of the product. It will not lead to people being "more high". Science needs to step in and speak up on this thing. There is a blood saturation threshold with cannabinoids. They are not water soluble, but fat soluble. You cannot just keep consuming and exponentiating the effect. It does not work that way.

A person who smokes an entire cigarette of less potent cannabis is no less high than the person who takes two puffs of potent cannabis - and for that matter - the person who smokes an entire cigarette of potent cannabis is not any higher than the person who took a few large bong rips of milder cannabis.

Most people reach a comfort level, and they do not seek to smoke more as it is just pointless. Marijuana is NOT like alcohol. You don't keep reaching for your pipe at the party. "I think Ill just take just one more puff" It does NOT work that way. It is not the same, and thinking of the percentages of THC/cannabinoids in the same way we think of alcohol percentage is not scientifically sound.
Posted by solerift131 on May 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM · Report this
I'd like to see, well probably THC % and the other one or two components people have been looking for when selecting pot, with appropriate warnings about "dosage". Not just on "dry" goods, but also on tinctures, edibles and all cannabis product. Apart from what the state considers not-for-consumption crops of cannabis that should be labelled as such (talking mostly about hemp and all the other non drug related products here).

I'd also like to see clear labels for Indica to Sativa ratio or vice versa, heck include ruderalis % too while we're at it.

Clean warning labels as to who this product isn't appropriate for. ei: sale illegal to minors...

Suggested usage for a particular strain? that one might be pushing it.

Maybe not on the packaging but some form of eduction as to safer methods of imbibing cannabis.
Posted by yakovlev on May 1, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
I want to see labels like this put on ALL alcohol as well. Booze is much more directly effective than pot and the onset is very quick as well. I do not oppose labeling pot the same way, but lets get real about possible harm and potency of both drugs(and alcohol IS a drug). If we are truly interested in health, lets do what is more healthy.

a coyote
Posted by Bone eatin Brian on May 2, 2013 at 1:25 AM · Report this
#1, obviously your the type who barks out "facts" as if your some superior being setting us all straight with your supreme judgement. I've been a heavy pot smoker for 35
years and 95% of the hundreds of potheaded friends I have DO reach for the bong or pipe
all day, every day. 1 or 2 tokes of high THC
content weed will get you higher than 50 tokes
of some inferior weak pot. I've smoked several
tokes of SERIOUS herb and have literally become dizzy and on a few occasions, nauseated with the "spins". When one gets nauseated from drinking too much alcohol, it's not their stomache complaining, it's a PSYCHOLOGICAL thing. I admire those who smoke weed the way you
describe things, but MOST pot smokers DO, in fact, smoke 1- 2 grams per day. Much of what you say is factual, however many of us get a lift from each toke, even though the overall
high doesn't nescessarily increase.

This brings me to one more depressing thought:
I've been impatiently awaiting the time when I can buy weed at a pot store mainly because I
want to try more Sativas. I cant seem to find
anything but ultra powerful and super weak pot.
I wish I had access to medical herb because of all the variety! I've been counting on next December (over a year since we voted) for this
dream to come true, but now I'm realizing it will be many more months because of all these details that will be "decided" in December 2013.
But after that, how long before the products are ready for sale? HOW MUCH FUCKIN LONGER DO WE
HAVE TO WAIT?? December 2014??!!! I WANT A POT
Posted by handelfire on May 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
5 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@#1 the "risk" that the man speaks of is that wonderful strains that have both psychoactive power and medicinal value will be neglected and forced out of the marketplace by people always reaching for the weeds with the highest THC content. Higher THC does not always the most "righteous" weed make.
Posted by quinkygirl on May 4, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
I SAW Ben Livingston's NAME ON Personal Liberty Digest. I WONDER IF HE IS KINSMAN OF, Bob Livingston. I ASKED Ben ON THAT SITE - HE IGNORED ME.

Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on May 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
"#1 - solerift131,"


Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on May 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
Posted by 5th Columnist on May 7, 2013 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Ben Livingston,


I JUST Googled THE COMMENT I MADE AT, Personal Liberty Digest. IT WAS ADDRESSED TO "Scooter" Livingston - NOT, "Ben." I GUESS, I AM SO ANGRY WITH Bob Livingston THAT THE NAME, "Livingston," SET-ME-OFF.

Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on May 9, 2013 at 5:31 AM · Report this
After reading your article I persisted on line to find Mark's E/M, failing that I found his orig.ask clicking blog on this site & timed out trying to reply. I decieded not to look at the initial draft rules yet because I want this to be free of the feelings that might elicit. Por fabor anyone copy this to Mark,so perchance some part of this might be considered worthy of inclusion. Anywaycount me as 1 person not looking for the cannabis with the highest THC, in fact 1st they realized CBN wasn't the active high then they found out CBD was another error & now they don't seem to even know the original Thai stick existed, because they seem to denye that any sativa strain improves all the sensor reactions so it isn't necessary to reveal what neurotransmiter & receptor accounts for this abnomaly. For this most persons credit THC & anandamide recently issolated useing CB1/CB2 receptors with out a clue as to how that makes any sense. We used to be confused with laceing for greater yield/effects. However some of that laceing was added to the soil with prescription meds. So this is proof some marijuana will up take many debilitateing substances that may exist in growing soil & sterilization may not help in that regard. Now if we assume THC is the clear Thia high & we create pure THC(Marinol)with sesame seed oil base & consumeit geting a fuzzy high, maybe we should reconsider our assumption. Some folks reason that our govt. just isn't smart enough to know that they failed in their attempt, likewise the Canada govt. attempt. Even if they knew THC was another error, did they previously admit it prior to finding a new candidate? I could see why lawyers would advise them not to, since Israel is still unable to to create their offering; you know how meticulious they are. So while I realized for decades pure strain Indica & Ruderalis were fully capable of laceing themselves by empirical experience no one bothered to inform me that pure Thia strain cannabis was essentially a tree. That bit of data hidden in plain sight reveals a compleatly obvious reason why it would not lace itself by the roots, perchance by the air, a location risk. So if grower paying potency lab testing % of cannabinoids I wish to have option of other batch potency tested by flight module simulator as used for piolets/astronauts & displaying the results in 4 hour graphs showing the plus/minus difference from a long term normal state in milliseconds for various amounts of consumption eaten & vaporized. Also % of detractor elements includeing isotopes that I will be consumeingthat are not necessary for the growth of the cannabis such as lead,cadmium,arsenic,mercury,aluminium & for any trace of radioactivity. I want to know its source element/isotope &(if its part of any molecule its formula)& if this is grow area soil,air,water,fertilizer or unknown contaminate. For me here's what I really want to know to make a cannabis purchase & if its on the label that will save a lot of inquistioning. ~~~ ((Bud portions(or non-bud leaves) selected on May 7th 2013 from 14 to 20 feet above ground base area grown at 7,000 feet elevation supplemented light/heat ~ to the Thailand source climateof the (non hybrid) sativa strain 6th generation grafting from the original Thailand seed grown. Designated plant 17TX(X=area unknown)9813312713(grow area/date)Dryed below 100 degrees farenhite. Sealed at grow site 2 grams net wt. Female strain (not hermaphrodite). Full plant height over 27 feet. Age 32 months. (imprinted over low density photo of all known leaf group configurations pertaining to this plant.
Posted by Carl Erickson on May 26, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
Thanks for your article otherwise I would not have known about this.
Posted by Carl Erickson on May 26, 2013 at 7:49 PM · Report this

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