Governor Hickenlooper Signs Stricter Pot Regulations

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Originally published on May 22, 2014 6:57 am

Governor John Hickenlooper signed two measures into law Wednesday, both aimed at tightening rules around marijuana edibles and concentrates. One goal is to make sure young children don’t accidentally ingest the drug.

Since Colorado legalized pot in 2012, Doctor Mike Destefano, the medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospital in Aurora, said the hospital has seen more young patients who’ve ingested edible marijuana products.

“Not only is the number of patients increasing, but so is the severity of their cases. Multiple dose products intended for adults can cause serious complications when ingested by a young child,” said Destefano.

House Bill 1366 [.pdf] sponsored during the 2014 legislative session by Representative Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) would create labels for marijuana edibles such as pot infused brownies, cookies and candies. The state already requires childproof packaging and labels, but this new standard would be different because it would include a mark or symbol on the actual pot product.

“To make sure they’re clearly identifiable so you can identify these things as having marijuana in them,” said McNulty. “It is absolutely reckless to use children’s snacks, spray marijuana on them and then sell them. They will end up in the hands of kids.”

Separately Colorado is also creating new rules on the dosage inside pot edibles. There is a requirement per serving, but pot products typically contain more than one serving.

Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR
Dr. Mike Destefano- Emergency Room Director at Children's Hospital Colorado- Anschutz Campus. He said the hospital is seeing more cases of children accidentally ingesting pot. He supports house bill 1366 to create stricter labels for marijuana edibles.

“I call it the Lay potato chip conundrum,” said Representative Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), who has been involved in the rule making. “You can’t have just one Lays, or is that Pringles, I can’t remember.”

Singer said the goal is to make sure people know what’s going inside their bodies and that one serving size looks like one serving size. He’s also the sponsor of House Bill 1361 [.pdf] that the Governor signed creating an equivalency standard for marijuana concentrates. Concentrates can be used in vaporizer pens, the pot version of an e-cigarette. Singer said it’s easier for some people, especially medical marijuana patients to take marijuana in a vaporized form, but the problem is, again, in the dosage.

“Maybe an ounce of the smokeable bud is probably equivalent to a case of beer, and ounce of the marijuana concentrate right now could probably last a medical marijuana patient months. That was the intention of the voters, the intention of voters was for personal use,” said Singer.

The passage of Amendment 64 allows people to possess an ounce of marijuana. Singer said he wants to make sure individuals buying concentrates aren't walking away with a several month supply of pot.

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