Last week, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a pair of bills intended to establish tighter regulations for cannabis edibles and concentrates throughout the state. The edible legislation creates a task force to design packaging and labeling to ensure pot-edible products are clearly distinguishable from regular food products, especially critical for cannabis-laced items like cookies and candy that can potentially appeal to children.
Since Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012, nine kids have been treated by Colorado Children's Hospital for accidental ingestion of pot food. Hickenlooper signed both bills during a ceremony at the same Children’s Hospital in Aurora.
Additionally, the new edibles law prevents any retail marijuana manufacturer from knowingly adding pot to any product that a consumer would confuse for a trademarked product, or to any food product marketed towards children.
The concentrate legislation authorizes a scientific study to guide the State Licensing Authority in establishing the equivalency of one ounce of pot in cannabis retail products, such as hash oil. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that an ounce of cannabis concentrate is considerably more potent than an ounce of flowers.
Further, the new law restricts retailers from selling more than ounce of flowers or its equivalent (once established by the state) in pot products – including concentrates – to Colorado residents, and from selling no more than a quarter-ounce of flowers or its equivalent in products to non-residents.
Attorney Rachel K. Gillette of NORML explained the key alteration to the existing recreational law is the issue of equivalency: "The text [of HB 14-1361] adds specifically 'or the equivalent [of one ounce]'. That is the major change. [The state] will determine an 'equivalent' of one quarter or one ounce of 'marijuana' for edibles and concentrated products.
"The previous rule excluded from the calculation of one ounce or one quarter-ounce those ingredients which were not in fact marijuana. So, conceivably, out-of-staters could purchase 700 Cheeba Chews (hash chocolate taffy) containing 10 milligrams [of THC] each to make up one-quarter ounce (7000 milligrams, or seven grams) of marijuana … That is the way the law previously read."