22 Apr Colorado May Ban Edible Pot
The rollout of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington has largely been uneventful. In one respect, though, residents, lawmakers and health officials in Colorado still have serious concerns about edible marijuana products. Edible products, which can include enticing treats like cookies, brownies and candies, have sent kids to emergency rooms for accidental ingestion and have led to at least two deaths. As a result, the state of Colorado is reconsidering edible pot.
What Is Edible Pot?
When you think of legal marijuana, you probably envision a few people sitting around smoking a joint. Smoking pot is not the only way to get a high, though. The mind-altering compounds in marijuana, called cannabinoids, can be extracted from the plant and put into foods. Consuming them in this way can also produce a high, and a popular one. Around 45 percent of the legal pot sales in Colorado have been in the form of edibles, according to the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. The problem, of course, is being able to distinguish between a regular cookie and a pot cookie. Accidents are bound to happen if products are not clearly marked.
Downside to Edible Pot
Edible products are under scrutiny, and their regulation is being debated because these pot treats have caused a few notable problems, the first of which is accidental ingestion. If not clearly labeled, or if left out of its package, a pot treat can look exactly like a regular piece of food. Hospitals have seen an increase in the number of cases of children needing treatment for accidentally consuming pot treats.
Kids are not the only ones getting into trouble with pot treats. Colorado has also seen two high-profile incidents of adults reacting badly to edible pot, resulting in two fatalities. The first involved a young man who jumped to his death after eating pot cookies. In the second case, a man ate pot cookies, hallucinated and shot his wife. These incidents raise questions about the doses of pot in treats and whether they are clearly labeled and understood by legal users.
Banning or Restricting Pot Edibles
These accidents with edible pot have led lawmakers in Colorado to put together a working group to form recommendations. The state health department recommended banning most edibles and restricting them to hard candies and tinctures that can be added to foods. The problem with such a restriction is it may be illegal based on the law that made recreational pot products allowable.
While some advocates would like to see all the treats banned, it may not work legally. Another suggestion is to require that all pot food products be labeled or shaped in a way that makes it clear they contain marijuana or cannabinoids. This would include not just the packaging but also the actual product so that, if unwrapped, the food would still clearly appear to be a pot product.
None of the proposals made by the working group will be finalized anytime soon. They will be officially presented to state lawmakers in February. From there, the legislature can decide if a ban would be legal, if severe restrictions would be legal or if labeling requirements make the most sense. Until then, parents in particular need to be careful and to protect their children from the risks of edible pot.
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