At the start of 2014, Colorado made history by becoming the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana for selling. But though response has been generally positive, implementation is far from perfect. The state's most recent marijuana-related challenge? Reining in edibles.
From cookies and candies to bottled beverages, edible marijuana is being sold in Colorado in various forms. Selling has gone so well in fact that business is booming not just for dispensaries but anyone who has an entrepreneurial streak and an interest in pot. Everyone's eating marijuana these days but not everyone can tell how much marijuana they are eating. That's the problem Colorado seeks to remedy with a set of emergency rules.
According to a draft obtained by Associated Press, the emergency rules will require edible pot manufacturers to physically mark products in such a way that consumers can easily determine how much THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana) is in a dose or serving.
As it is, rules have already been set in place to limit THC content in each serving to 10 milligrams. However, consumers are not always sure what constitutes a serving and so end up consuming too much. It also doesn't help that there are edibles with stronger doses aimed at patrons of medical marijuana who have built up tolerances and won't use anything under 100 milligrams of THC.
An overdose usually leads to unpleasant experiences like paralysis and nausea, but worse is that it can even lead to death. A college student was reported earlier in the year to have died after eating edible pot cookies, consuming over six times the recommended dose before falling to his death from a balcony in a hotel.
Regulators can't comment on the emergency rules because these have not been made public yet. Natriece Bryant from the Colorado Department of Revenue, however, has said that if the governor approves the emergency rules, they will be in effect by November 1.
For once, advocates and opponents of marijuana use are on the same side aiming to regulate edible pot to ensure the safety of consumers. "The problem of people overdoing it with edibles, accidentally, is going to be very much taken care of with these new rules," said Marijuana Industry Group executive director Mike Elliott. He also adds that before these emergency rules were drafted the free market has already taken steps to curb overdosing by lowering potency in servings.