At the Get Baked Sale, a recent event in San Francisco, makers of cannabis edibles allowed medical marijuana card holders to sample brownies, donuts, fortune cookies, ice cream and other cannabis infused food items. The event provided a glimpse of what may be in store on a much larger scale if recreational cannabis is made legal in the Golden State.
Something that was absent from the booths at the Get Baked Sale—but which likely will be present at any future event should cannabis be legalized in California—were labels to identify the amount of THC contained in the samples. Because California does not require manufacturers to state the THC content of edible medical marijuana products, most people who attended the event had no idea how much THC they were ingesting.
There is a significant difference between effects experienced when cannabis is ingested and when it is smoked. One disparity is the amount of time it takes to affect a person. While the high after smoking cannabis is typically felt within 3 to 10 minutes, it may take 1 to 3 hours when eaten. The delay between consuming and feeling the effects causes some people to impatiently eat more too soon. This can result in a high that is much more intense than intended.
The variability in potency between one edible and the next is not just concerning for consumers. It is also an issue that legislators will look hard at if cannabis becomes legal in California, which could happen as soon as 2016.
Many companies that specialize in medical cannabis edibles have already begun to adopt best practices for manufacturing their products. Legislators in states such as Colorado, which allows recreational use of cannabis, have recently moved to require manufacturers of edibles to identify THC levels on product packages.
California bakers and purveyors of cannabis edibles expect similar laws to affect their businesses when and if recreational marijuana becomes legal in the state. Rather than wait for the day that cannabis is legalized, they are acting now to establish relationships with labs to test their products so that they will be compliant and ready to sell their goods the moment cannabis becomes legal.