State health regulators in Colorado want to take a bite out of a significant sector of the marijuana industry by limiting what edibles may be manufactured and sold. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has suggested that edible marijuana should only be sold as hard candies or a tincture. The Huffington Post reported that Colorado lawmakers have also attempted to lower the limit of allowable THC in edibles from 100 mg to 10 mg, an amount comparable to a medium-sized joint.
Although marijuana has been legalized in all forms for adult use in Colorado as a result of voter approval of Amendment 64 in 2012, the specter of harsh regulations still looms over the industry. Then there is the fact that marijuana is still illegal according to the federal government.
The CDPHE has suggested their edibles regulations be tacked onto another bill before the Colorado House of Representatives that would prohibit marijuana edibles from copying trademarked products or products that are commonly marketed to children. However, as the Colorado Springs Gazette reported, it is unlikely these regulations will be added to the bill.
While these sorts of regulations suggested by the CDPHE are certain to spark outcry from the business community, cannabis investors should be aware that some sectors are riskier than others. The edible market is likely more susceptible to regulations than any other part of the cannabis industry.
Even though marijuana has relatively few horror stories compared to other legal and illegal substances, it does indeed seem that most horror stories related to marijuana have come from edibles.
First, there is the two infamous deaths attributed to edible marijuana in Colorado. The first death was an accident in which the victim fell from a hotel balcony. The second death was a woman who was shot in the head by her husband while she was on the phone with 911, telling the dispatcher he was hallucinating after eating a marijuana edible. The shooter was also on prescription pain medication at the time.
Then, there is Maureen Dowd’s visit to the Mile-High City that left her feeling 5,280 feet high after she ate too much of a cannabis candy bar shortly after the legal marijuana market opened. According to Dowd’s column in The New York Times, she thought she had died. Now, Dowd is the poster child for responsible consumption of edibles.
With Halloween approaching, many people in Colorado are afraid that their children will be given cannabis candy while trick or treating. Still, while no one suggests giving children cannabis candy is a good thing, it is certainly sounds better than some other Halloween candy horror stories.
Another consideration when investing in marijuana is what happens when marijuana becomes legal at the federal level? If the DEA removes marijuana from schedule I of their controlled substances, but places it in a different schedule, then technically marijuana could become legalized federally, while state laws are still breaking federal regulations. If the acceptance of marijuana in a majority of the country is based on federal legalization, then that could affect the growth of some sectors of the industry.
But if the CDPHE has their way with edibles in Colorado, not only will it jeopardize the future of small marijuana bakeries, but big players like Dixie Elixirs could see a significant portion of their business made illegal once again if they can only sell tinctures. While many facets of the marijuana industry have clearer futures, the crystal ball is still cloudy when it comes to edibles.