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  • Christopher Smith, Publisher

ASTM Launches International Symbol for Intoxicating Cannabinoids

Sometimes you get lucky and are able to participate in something that changes the world just a little bit.

When I volunteered to become a member of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) in 2021, I didn't know I was joining a 100+ year old organization that is responsible for creating standards for things that need standardizing such as train tracks and street signs. The more I read about this esteemed group, the more I was impressed, even intimidated.

I volunteered because I had heard that ASTM was getting ready to vote on a 'universal symbol for products that contain intoxicating cannabinoids' that was intended to appear on every package of cannabis around the world.

I saw the draft design. I had never been so certain that something was headed in the wrong direction.

So I volunteered for the Cannabis Technical Committee to participate in the process.

The necessary first step was to stop the current design. I had to be prepared to bring every ounce of persuasion that I had ever learned. Including, if necessary, bringing the roof down on our own heads.

I spent several days researching and writing my remarks. I rehearsed it again and again. And when the day of the big Zoom call finally arrived, and then my opportunity to speak, let's just say the Universe gave me the words and images and righteous anger to get my point across, stop the former symbol, and get the group headed in a better direction.

ASTM International members David L. Nathan, M.D. and Eli Nathan designed the symbol with the group of volunteers from the D37 led by Martha Bajec, PhD of HCD Research. Hats off to them for the skill, precision and diligence to pull all the details together and perfecting the symbol you see here.

Says Dr. Nathan, who founded Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, “The symbol has the potential to facilitate a spirit of collaboration among experts, regulators, and all other stakeholders in the cannabis industry.”

"Darwin Millard, subcommittee vicechair for ASTM D37.04 and subcommittee co-chair for ASTM D37.07, says this is perhaps one of the most important standards to come out of the committee.

“It serves to establish a harmonized warning symbol that is truly international,” says Millard. “It is not intended to replace symbols that have already been established, rather it is intended to be used by marketplaces that have yet to establish a symbol.” As more and more marketplaces adopt the symbol, the hope is that markets with their own symbol will harmonize with the ASTM symbol over time."

"The IICPS became the official symbol for the state of Montana as of January 1st. New Jersey and Vermont have also incorporated the IICPS design into their state symbols, already making it the most widely adopted cannabis product symbol in fully legalized states. Alaska and other states are currently discussing use of the symbol as well."


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