Indecision Plagues Colorado Regulators


There is a specter haunting Colorado, and that specter is edible marijuana. Ever since the state began recreational sales of marijuana at the start of the year, lawmakers have been racking their brains on how to regulate the market. Most recently, Colorado health officials came together once again in an attempt to come to a consensus about how to regulate edibles. Sadly, the meeting ended with a lot of ideas but little consensus about what to do.

So what is the deal with edible cannabis? Is it really that dangerous and is it really that hard to regulate?

At the heart of the edible cannabis issue is the fear that children will think that edible cannabis is candy, eat it, and then have their minds blown a little too early in life. Ever since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, sensationalist media outlets have attached themselves to this issue, beating a dead horse and scaring people.

While it is true that ever since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado that more children have accidentally ingested the drug, but we are still talking less than two dozen reported incidents. Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post did a little digging into poison control statistics and found that your child is 136 times more likely to be poisoned by diaper cream than marijuana.

Ingraham  reports: “There were 254 such calls [for marijuana poisoning] in 2012. By contrast, there were about 1,000 calls related to kids ingesting energy drinks, 1,600 for kids drinking contact lens fluid, and over 4,000 for children who ate birth control pills.” Despite hysterics, this is not as rampant a problem as some would have you believe.


That being said, appearances matter and it is still the responsibility of the industry to act maturely and respond to the concerns of the public. You might think that it should be cut and dry when it comes to regulating edible marijuana, but you would be surprised.

Efforts have been stymied by both sides of the issue, and it is hard to get anyone to agree on anything, as evidenced by the indecision of this last meeting. The most popular idea to come out of this recent regulatory meeting was that edible manufacturers have their product seek approval from a regulatory board before hitting the market.

The industry, of course, hated this idea and immediately fired back.

Speaking with The New York Times, Elyse Gordon, owner of the edibles company Better Baked, expressed her frustration over the constant regulation. “We’re governed to death, and people need to take responsibility for themselves,” said Gordon, “I don’t think anyone in the industry is looking to make products for children, and we resent this idea that people aren’t responsible for the products they bring into their home.”

The current regulatory state of edible marijuana is uncertain and since regulators have until the end of 2015 to come to a consensus, don’t expect an agreement anytime soon. Attempts to regulate edible cannabis will be met with resistance and lawmakers will listen. Edible marijuana makes up 45 percent of Colorado’s cannabis industry. Unless you want to go to war with the industry, one must tread lightly with regulation.

Entrepreneurs need not let this air of uncertainty stop them from investing in Colorado’s edibles market. While no one is sure what the final edible rules will look like, a ban or severe restrictions are unlikely. Regulators did briefly float the idea of a ban, but they quickly retreated as the internet erupted into a fury, proving the voice of the people can be heard.


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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