New rules around marijuana labels and the amount of marijuana products consumers can buy at one time changed Saturday.
For example, prior to Saturday, customers could buy 28 grams of hash, now, because it is a marijuana concentrate, the limit is 8 grams.
Under this rule, customers can buy 80 10-milligram servings of THC in edible products. Previously 2,800 10- milligram servings could be sold.
These changes were based on a state-sponsored study that looked at THC dosage.
The new rules will require more education for store employees to ensure compliance, said Ryan Hood, inventory manager at Animas Herbal Wellness Center.
“It’s kind of on all us to make sure we are not overselling,” he said.
Even though the rules decrease how much retailers can sell during a single transaction, Hood is not worried.
“As an industry, we have to do what the MED tells us to do,” he said of oversight by the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. “We worked so hard to get where we are; let’s just follow the rules.”
The marijuana industry in town has seen impressive growth with a 33.3 percent increase in annual sales through August compared with the same period last year, according to city data.
From January through August, the city collected $493,729 from marijuana shops. During the same time last year the city collected $370,318, City Finance Director Julie Brown said. The city collected $598,925 in sales taxes from marijuana shops in total for all of 2015.
New labels for marijuana products were also rolled out Saturday, and they are meant to make sure marijuana products don’t fall into the hands of children. They also are intended to help consumers understand how much THC they are ingesting.
So far, the burden of the labeling compliance has fallen mostly on manufacturers because edible products containing a standardized serving of 10 milligrams of THC must be marked, stamped or imprinted with a “THC” symbol, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. All printed labels also read: “Contains Marijuana. Keep out of the reach of children.”
The imprinted edibles are meant to help parents, school officials and other authorities to identify marijuana products.
Anecdotally, staff members at Mercy Regional Medical Center say they see a child who has accidentally ingested a marijuana product about once a month, said David Bruzzese, spokesman for the hospital.
Matt Whipple, an employee with Colorado Grow Co., likened the recent warning label changes to rules applied to cigarettes.
In Colorado, marijuana packaging must also be child-resistant, across the industry, which is a another deterrent, he said. But consumers also have to be responsible.
“Ultimately, it is kind of on the parents in my opinion,” he said.
Products that do not have the new THC symbol must be sold before Dec. 1.
“It’s no real big deal for us,” Hood said. Although, the store may run some sales to get rid of noncompliant product as December draws closer, he said.
Even though state rules are becoming more strict, all Durango retailers have more opportunities to reach customers. As of Aug. 20, the city extended the mandatory closing time from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Animas Herbal Wellness extended the hours of the retail marijuana side of the shop last week.
“Every time we’ve decided to extend our hours, it’s always resulted in a financial benefit,” Hood said.
At Colorado Grow Co., the store will likely extend weekend hours during the tourist season, Whipple said.