Since the legalization of cannabis for medical use in 2000, Colorado's marijuana market has risen dramatically. In 2014, legal pot was a $700 million dollar industry in the state: Colorado retailers sold $386 million worth of medical cannabis and $313 million of weed for recreational purposes; plus, the two segments generated $63 million in tax revenue. Some recreational stores and dispensaries of Colorado Springs reported that cannabis-infused edibles comprised the majority of their sales.
Colorado was the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and currently, its edibles market has grown to be a billion-dollar industry.
However, while the popularity of edibles is skyrocketing, more and more cannabis opponents express their worries about child safety. The local lawmakers seem to be quite serious about addressing the issue, forcing manufacturers to adapt their businesses to the ever-tightening rules.
Other restrictions were approved by the Colorado House of Representatives this Tuesday. The House Bill 1436 would prohibit the sales of infused edibles in forms of animals, people, or fruit, which are so favored by children. So, cannabis gummy bears and worms sold in stores will become causalities if the bill is passed.
The rule would take effect later this year.
The Colorado lawmakers believe that those types of edibles are confusing to children. This fact is proven by the number of cases of kids being hospitalized after ingesting edible marijuana products. The governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, who also supports the proposed legislation, said that infused gummy bears sent the wrong message to children about marijuana, just like candy cigarettes desensitized them to the danger of tobacco.
As of today, there are no distinguishing characteristics between the products with marijuana and the ones without it. The bill will also require all edibles to be marked with a unique stamp, even those that are sold out of the packaging. Brightly colored cannabis lollipops and other sweets that could be attractive to children will also be outlawed.
The bill directs the local marijuana regulatory agency to develop detailed guidelines on enforcing the prohibition on infused food.
There is a concern that children or youngsters will find or buy these products and eat them, thinking they are ordinary sweets. Numerous kids in Colorado, most of whom were between 3 and 7 years old, were hospitalized as a result of allegedly ingesting edible marijuana products in the last years, and at least three deaths in the state were linked to infused food.
Some parents worry that their kids would eat pot food items and suffer serious harm, although marijuana is proven to be one of the safest substances known to mankind, with no toxicity and long-lasting effects. The worst consequences from accidentally ingesting THC could include emotional agitation, sedation, or anxiety, and most of these unpleasant impacts fade away following a good night's sleep.
As the legal recreational cannabis industry starts offering a wider range of edibles, the issue of how much they should be regulated is continuing to be addressed.
Other officials, including Gov. of Vermont, also expressed their wish to develop new cannabis edibles standards.
At the same time, manufacturers are worried about the potential costs associated with retooling their operations to meet the new proposed regulations. They also find the bill too vague and believe that it could lead to the prohibition of all sorts of shapes.