Written by Clair Covino
As the cannabis industry continues to grow before our eyes, the standards of compliance don’t quite seem to be catching up. We are in the infancy of what the experts at New Frontier Data presume will be a $30 billion industry by 2025. At this stage, differing federal and state policies make it confusing for companies and dispensaries to comply.
Compliance is an important thing when it comes to legal intoxicants. Policies and laws aim to ensure that the distribution and consumption of these goods is as safe as possible.
One company that’s making compliance a bit easier is Baked Smart. They were founded in 2016 in Portland, Oregon with a mission to ensure that cannabis companies properly label their infused edibles. They sell labels that other companies use to mark all kinds of cannabis-infused treats.
The Deal with Labeling Edibles
Baked Smart’s labels not only ensure children can differentiate Mom’s brownies from theirs, but they also prevent adults from accidental intoxication too.
Product safety laws are among some of the greatest compliance risks for cannabis companies. Packaging and labeling must fall within the specific state policies, which mostly require edible companies to explicitly mark cannabis-infused products, and denote the presence of THC.
Though, even when products are properly labeled, they are sometimes ignored. For example, a study in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence concluded that, “THC numbers used to express potency have little or no meaning to most young [people].” Meaning, younger users often overlook labels that have too many numbers or words.
Consequently, simpler packaging seems to be most effective. To quote the aforementioned study, “THC labels that provide ‘interpretive’ information, such as descriptors, symbols, or references to servings have greater efficacy.”
Fortunately, many legal states now require a universal symbol on THC products. They are all some variation of the letters THC and an exclamation point.
That’s where Baked Smart — a label company — comes in.
The Green Cross
Baked Smart creates labels with the universal THC symbols for products sold in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Maine.
Alternatively, Baked Smart proposes the green cross: a simple, recognizable and comprehensible symbol that people of all ages can identify. They designed it intentionally to represent medicinal cannabis products. The company intends for the green cross to become the universal symbol for THC-infused edibles. In some areas, the symbol has already become synonymous with cannabis products.
Baked Smart produces a line of safe-to-eat labels specifically for cannabis infusions called Cannacals. They adhere directly to the edible itself, and leave no room for confusion, even after the packing is removed.
The green cross is a symbol of pride for edible companies because it indicates that the product is medicated.
Leah D’Ambrosio, the Chief Operating Officer of Baked Smart, is adamant that cannabis companies label their edibles. “It’s the best form of insurance,” she says.
Where the boundaries of compliance are a bit more blurred, it’s up to the companies to regulate themselves.
“I think it’s really important for us to show that we’re mature, that we care and […] that we’re responsible for the public. We don’t want the public accidentally consuming cannabis,” says D’Ambrosio.
A Woman in Weed
D’Ambrosio believes there is a place for cannabis in every home. But breaking the stigma around cannabis is a battle she faces every day.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to have cannabis,” she says. “It was criminalized for political reasons and for health reasons. We need to bring it back into our lives and stop eating the propaganda.”
D’Ambrosio also aims to make sure that everyone feels welcome in the cannabis space is for everyone. As part of this mission, the company works with small businesses to ensure they can “get what they need to be compliant without breaking the bank,” she explains.
“Our goal is to not only be there for the edible companies and help support them,” she adds, “but also to help educate the public to help show them that this is the road to wellness.”
There is still a way to go on the path to federal legalization. But industry trailblazers like D’Ambrosio are setting the scene for the future by standing up for honesty and integrity in the cannabis industry.
Despite the many obstacles left to conquer, D’Ambrosio is excited about the future of cannabis. “The future of cannabis is incredibly bright,” she says. “If it goes the way it is now, it is nothing but blue skies and happy times ahead.”