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Senate panel approves bill to assuage industry concerns about vape cartridge compliance

By Alexander Nieves

07/08/2019 05:48 PM EDT

A recently gutted and amended bill aimed at addressing a persistent complaint by the cannabis industry over the size of the symbol that's required to be on all vaporizer cartridges unanimously cleared its last policy committee today on its way to the full Senate.

Under regulations adopted by the California Department of Public Health in January, all cannabis products must include a half-inch by half-inch universal symbol — a cannabis leaf and exclamation point surrounded by a triangle — on their packaging. CA AB 1529 (19R), by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), would decrease the minimum size of the universal symbol specifically for vape cartridges to a quarter-inch by a quarter-inch. Low's bill has already passed the Assembly, and was approved by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee today on a 9-0 vote.

Vape cartridge manufacturers have been unable to transfer their products to distributors since June 30, the cut-off date for all cannabis packaging to include the universal symbol in order to stay compliant. Retailers can continue to sell products they've received without the universal symbol through the end of the year.

According to industry groups, the current symbol size is too large to be automatically engraved and doesn't leave room for manufacturers to include product information about the oil contained in cartridges. Vape cartridges are cylindrical and smaller than one-quarter-inch in diameter.

"This provides a sensible solution to the size requirement of the universal symbol," said lobbyist Amy Jenkins, speaking on behalf of the California Cannabis Industry Association and CannaCraft. "It will allow operators to automate the process while also reducing costs and minimizing market disruption."

AB 1529 has received support from more than 30 industry organizations.

Mary Creasey