AUGUSTA – Earlier today, the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, introduced the universal symbol that will be used to identify adult use marijuana and marijuana products. The symbol, required by the Marijuana Legalization Act, will be used in Maine by prospective adult use marijuana licensees and the public to identify packages and products containing marijuana.
To deploy Maine’s universal symbol, OCP chose to partner with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to unveil the first-ever shared universal symbol for marijuana and marijuana products.
The symbol—which has already been successfully used in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—features a red triangle above text reading “CONTAINS THC”. Centered within the triangle is a black marijuana leaf superimposed on a field of white. THC is the common acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
“The adoption of a universal symbol in Maine is an important measure taken by the Office of Marijuana Policy to ensure Maine people are fully aware that a product contains marijuana,” said Erik Gundersen, director of the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. “Given our regional proximity and the close personal and business ties our two states share, the use of the same universal symbol will ensure that consumers can clearly recognize products that contain THC whether in Massachusetts or Maine.”
In choosing Maine’s universal symbol, OCP reviewed existing statutory requirements for labeling and packaging as well as the requirements of their provisionally adopted adult use marijuana rules. With that work completed, OCP began to survey established universal symbols and quickly recognized that the form, content, and style of symbols in use by other states were anything but universal.
OCP staff identified the CCC’s symbol as a potential opportunity for collaboration and were pleased with how warmly the suggestion of utilizing the same symbol was received by their counterparts in Massachusetts.
“The Cannabis Control Commission is excited to partner with the State of Maine on the first universal symbol to be shared by two distinct regulatory jurisdictions,” said Shawn Collins, executive director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. “Whether an adult is interested in consuming legal marijuana products or not, our universal symbol helps identify when an item contains THC and serves as a key deterrent to accidental ingestions. Our states share a mutual goal of developing safe and secure marketplaces, and this collaboration demonstrates our progress toward that objective.”
In Maine, use of the universal symbol is required by adult use marijuana licensees. For product packaging and labeling, the symbol must appear on the front or most predominantly displayed area of the marketing layer. It may appear no smaller than half an inch by half an inch.
For edible marijuana products, each single standardized serving of marijuana must be marked, stamped or otherwise imprinted with the universal symbol directly on at least one side of the product. It may not appear less than a quarter of an inch by a quarter of an inch.
While not required, OCP encourages caregivers and dispensaries currently operating within Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program to consider utilizing Maine’s universal symbol.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Executive Director Collins, and his staff for their work in making this important milestone possible,” added Director Gundersen. “Our positive working relationships with other marijuana-regulating states have been exceedingly helpful as Maine is set to become the second state on the east coast to launch an adult use program.”
Introduction of the universal symbol in Maine comes as OCP prepares to complete final adoption of its rules that will serve as the regulatory framework for the state’s new adult use industry. The office intends to begin accepting adult use applications by the end of 2019.
For more information on Maine's universal symbol, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/ocp/resources/universal-symbol.