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Colorado Lawmakers Scrutinize Marijuana Edibles

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Lawmakers in Colorado are considering stricter regulations for marijuana edibles, in the wake of two deaths connected with the products. Experts warn consuming the edibles can lead to bizarre behavior, USA Today reports.

State legislators agreed to spend $10 million to require better labeling of edibles and to ban them from being made into products primarily marketed to children. The funds will also be used to study the effects of marijuana use. They also approved a measure lowering the amount of marijuana-infused oil or butter than can be sold to consumers. These products contain concentrated marijuana at levels far higher than found in the plant itself, the article notes.

The legislators are also considering mandating portion sizes for marijuana edibles, in order to help standardize the amount of the drug in products.

Edible marijuana products have become a popular alternative to smoking marijuana in Colorado this year, since retail sales of the products became legal on January 1. Adults 21 and over can legally purchase marijuana edibles at state-licensed stores. Marijuana is now available in products ranging from candy to soda and granola.

Last month, health officials reported legal marijuana edible products were linked to two deaths and an increase in emergency room visits in Colorado. The amount of marijuana in edible products varies widely. In some cases, products contain levels so high that people experience extreme paranoia and anxiety. Genifer Murray of CannLabs, a Colorado-approved marijuana potency testing lab, noted an inexperienced user can easily overdose on marijuana edibles, because the effects begin more slowly than the smoked version of the drug.

One of the deaths related to edibles involved a college student who had never tried marijuana before. He ate the recommended dose of one-sixth of a marijuana-laced cookie last month. He felt no effects, and then ate the whole cookie—six times the recommended dose. He later jumped off a hotel balcony and died.

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