Marijuana edibles are the hot topic of another meeting today in Colorado. Colorado health authorities intend to once and for all decide which marijuana edibles are too indistinguishable from every-day treats. It is reported that the aim is to establish a new state commission responsible for the “pre-market approval” of ingestible marijuana products before they can be sold in state-licensed dispensaries.
At this time, there are no regulations to limit the different forms in which ingestible cannabis may be produced. There are, however, regulations establishing retail packaging, potency, and serving size requirements. Back in October of this year, Jeff Lawrence of the Colorado Department of Public Health recommended a ban on most forms of edible marijuana products that would allow only tinctures and lozenges to be sold in Colorado. That recommendation was quickly rescinded for being unconstitutional, but now lawmakers are looking for a compromise.
The Marijuana Enforcement Division of Colorado has reportedly been hosting workgroups made up of health officials, law enforcement officers, people from the cannabis industry, and parents to discuss all aspects necessary for coming up with the best plan of action for regulating cannabis edibles. The final meeting will be held today, and the final decision will be made by legislators next year.
Colorado state representative of district eleven, Jeff Singer, told Huff Post Live that he does not support this particular proposal, but he does support marijuana edibles being marked in such a way that would facilitate easy identification of cannabis products by people of all ages. He wants to establish a way of marking the outside of every marijuana infused treat so that any person could quickly identify any product as containing cannabis just by looking at it, rather than limiting the permissible forms in which edibles may be sold. He feels that this would be the best compromise by maintaining the constitutional right of the people to ingest cannabis in whichever form they so choose, while also preventing accidental ingestion. He summarized his reasoning behind the importance of reaching a happy medium,
“If we regulate this industry too much it, you force it into a robust black market where criminals don’t care who they are giving the marijuana to. If we do not regulate it enough, the federal government will step in and squash the whole program, which is another way to open up the black market again.”
Producers of cannabis edibles are standing up against this possible policy change, however, because the voter-approved amendment 64 allows all forms of marijuana infused products, and consumers need to take responsibility for cannabis consumption just as they do alcohol consumption. Elyse Gordon, owner of Denver’s Better Baked cannabis edibles manufacturer explained,
“We’re governed to death, and people need to take responsibility for themselves. 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.”
All sides on this issue are feeling the growing pains of this newly budding industry. Just as, today, alcoholic beverages are easily identified by children, ingestible cannabis products will eventually be similarly identifiable because of these necessary steps. This industry is still in stages of infancy, and fewer gray areas will remain in years to come. During these times of establishing precedence, it will be very important that lawmakers and citizens alike remember to view regulative decisions without the reefer-madness colored glasses of the past so that constitutional rights are not squashed. Many people still view cannabis with a certain fear of the unknown, and that could fog the decision-making process for some. These times may prove to be difficult, but are necessary to legitimize the industry. Still the message must remain that cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol, and therefor should not face tighter regulations.
photo credit: NBC