Colorado Proposes New Edible Cannabis Rules

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When Colorado legalized recreational cannabis eight months ago, no one was really sure how it would all turn out. Despite doom-laden prophecies from prohibitionists, cannabis legalization in Colorado has been a huge success. Crime is down, tax revenue from the cannabis is over $17 million, and traffic fatalities are at an all-time low. The only problem with legalization thus far has been with edible cannabis.

Due to poor labeling and insufficient regulation, many individuals have simply been accidentally ingesting way too much marijuana. Consequently the news has been flooded with scandalous headlines about people “going crazy” on marijuana edibles.

It has become almost obligatory in every news story about edible cannabis to mention the man who shot his wife after eating a cannabis cookie and the student who jumped to his death after eating a cannabis cookie as well.

Although one cannot conclusively blame the marijuana for either of those actions; opinions matter and prohibitionists have been keen on whipping up anti-cannabis sentiment from these stories. To address the growing public safety concern about edible cannabis, Colorado lawmakers have come together to propose new edible cannabis regulations.

According to the Huffington Post, the new guidelines would do away with the practice of packing 100mg of THC into small products like cookies; instead the THC limit will be limited to 10mg per serving. Products will still be able to contain up to 100mg of THC, but the product must be able to be easily broken up into single servings.

Spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, Natriece Bryant, told The Cannabist “The Marijuana Enforcement Division’s primary concern is to ensure public safety…The Marijuana Enforcement Division feels that clear serving size requirements within the industry is a vital part of responsible regulation.”

In addition to better labeling, edible marijuana producers must put their product, regardless of the form, in tight child safe containers. Previously producers have left the responsibility of providing child safe containers to the store.

The new rules also call for a standardized method of labeling to distinguish the differing concentrations of THC. Regulators are still working what the labeling system would like and as of yet have failed to reach a consensus.

One proposed labeling system that gained popular support was modeled after Colorado’s famous ski-run signage. For example, Green dots would signify a low THC concentration while black diamonds would indicate a very high THC concentration.  Unfortunately, members of the Colorado skiing community persuaded lawmakers to abandon that idea.

There has been no push-back from the cannabis industry; and have in fact taken the initiative to practice self-regulation. Organizations like the National Cannabis Industry Association have offered SafeServe classes for edibles and many edible marijuana producers have already started limiting the THC concentration in a single serving to only 10mg.

Although not yet finalized, the proposed edible marijuana regulations provide a common sense solution to the growing public safety concern of edible cannabis. Colorado and the cannabis industry continue to show restraint and maturity in regulating the cannabis industry; and by all measures of success, seem to be doing a good job.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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