Colorado legalized the growing, selling, smoking and eating of recreational marijuana more than 10 months ago, but it still hasn’t resolved some major questions about how this new market is supposed to work.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the state Health Department was proposing to ban nearly all forms of edible marijuana, to make it easier to keep children from overdosing. The proposal was one of several ideas presented to a state-sponsored working group considering safety regulations for the marijuana industry.
But health officials quickly backed away from the plan after the A.P. article appeared. As the Denver Post reported, edibles account for nearly half of the state’s cannabis business. Forcing all those soda- and candy-makers out of business or underground would be a head-spinning retreat for Colorado’s world-leading legalization experiment.
It would also seem to clearly violate the Constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved by Colorado voters, to make marijuana in its many forms legal, and to regulate it like alcohol.
As The Post also makes clear, it is proving difficult to come up with simple, surefire rules about the size, look, potency and potential risk of edibles. Everyone seems to agree that regulation is desirable, but how is that supposed to happen? By airbrushing warnings on individual gummy candies? By making all marijuana chocolates a telltale shade of gray? It’s easy to see why some health officials thought the simplest thing to do with edibles would be to just get rid of them.
The problem is that it’s too late for that. There seems little chance that Colorado will impose what Twitter jokesters have been calling “Maureen’s Law,” after the Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd, who had a bad night in a Denver hotel after eating marijuana-infused candy.
Besides, for all the concern, opponents have not much evidence to show that edible marijuana is a public-health crisis.
Halloween is nearly here. Parents in Colorado and the other legalization state, Washington, have been hearing warnings about adulterated candies and stoned trick-or-treaters. Next month we will know how much of that the fear was justified.
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