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Colorado Bans Candy-Shaped Edibles

Colorful Fruity Gummy Bears

Starting October 1st, revised safety regulations for cannabis will go into effect. Colorado will no longer allow manufacturers to create cannabis edibles with ‘kid-friendly’ shapes. The state will also require manufacturers to display potency information on product labels.

In April 2016, Colorado passed HB 1436. This law proposed edibles to appear less appealing to children and minors. Now, this law will be going into effect on October 1st. It will prevent the sale of edibles infused with marijuana in the shape of animals, fruit, humans, or cartoons. The Colorado Department of Revenue spent more than a year curating these changes. Most of these changes were incrementally implemented through the passing of several laws.

The law is the latest in several that Colorado has introduced to further refine their marijuana regulations. Many of these laws limit several factors; marijuana dosing, THC consistency and the visual appeal of edibles. 2015 introduced a 100-milligram cap on THC in marijuana-infused products. The following year, marijuana edibles products began to require a THC stamp. These labels expressed information about the contents of products infused with marijuana. The revised regulations aim to ‘keep marijuana out of the hands of children, minors, and illegal operations, as well as providing safeguards against consumer harm.’

Cannabis edibles are food items infused with marijuana or marijuana oils. They are widely considered an alternative form to vaporizing or smoking marijuana. Edibles exist in various forms; as cookies, brownies, chocolates, and candies. They typically contain varying amounts of THC. This may pose a potential health risk if consuming too much at a time.

In 2014, the availability of edibles infused with marijuana surged as cannabis dispensaries made them available to the public. A large number of these dispensaries exposed patrons to edibles containing marijuana for the first time. This popularity, however, caught many industry regulators and officials by surprise.

Eventually, public health concerns about edibles emerged. Many wanted to know the risks of edibles consumption, accidental ingestion, and even pesticide residues that could be present within edibles products. The consistency of THC content in these products was another concern. Some edibles were found to have varying amounts of THC, which did not match the content listed on the product labeling.

In Colorado’s efforts to regulate its marijuana industry, the state has begun to take a closer look at edibles. The new regulations directly address the shape and THC dosage in many consumable cannabis products.

Previous efforts changed how cannabis edibles packaging looked. Each serving now requires a universal THC symbol stamped on the product packaging. They also require detailed potency and contamination testing information.

New requirements for child-proof packaging and better product testing were also implemented. Many edibles now also have a restricted THC dosage of 10 milligrams per serving. State regulators also require establishments to provide education about the delayed inebriation effect caused by consuming edibles.

Now, the regulations follow up on changing how edibles look. Previously, regulations prevented cannabis edibles manufacturers from selling products as ‘candy’ or ‘candies.’ The revised regulations now prevent edibles from being manufactured in many ‘kid-friendly’ shapes.

Andrew Freedman recently commented that ‘this latest step ensures marijuana does not look like kids’ candy.’ The former director of Colorado’s marijuana coordination unit also noted a ‘rise in hospitalizations, accidental ingestion, and poison control calls’ since the legalization took place.’

Freedman, in his interview, also mentioned how the image of edibles looked to the rest of the nation. Images of ‘cannabis edibles appearing like candies and treats in transparent packaging did not do much to help Colorado’s image’ as the state continued to responsibly wrangle marijuana regulations. To Freedman, ‘that was not a good image to portray in national newspapers.’

Freedman believes the new regulations introduce ‘common sense guardrails for other states and nations who will eventually legalize marijuana.’ He also praised industry members for easily adjusting to the changing regulations.’ Freedman was ‘impressed with how quickly the edibles industry understood that it was in everyone’s best interest to get common sense edibles regulations in place.’

Smart Colorado’s executive director, Henry Lasley, is also in favor of the revised regulations. Lasley thinks these are steps ‘in the right direction that express collaboration between public health and safety and industry, in an attempt to prevent unintended consequences seen when [Colorado] went recreational.’

Smart Colorado is a nonprofit that focuses on children’s safety and marijuana policy education for parents. The nonprofit advocated against the sale of candy-like edibles, pointing out that they could entice children. Officials at the nonprofit continue to involve themselves in the ongoing regulations process. This process currently includes making further adjustments to information on cannabis product labels.

The revised regulations are anticipated to help consumers understand what may be present in different marijuana products, while also keeping them out of the hands of children and minors. The regulations, set to go into effect October 1, are considered one of the first steps.

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