By Veronica Morgan
The state of Colorado is considering a new labeling system for edibles, as they gain popularity with non-smokers and health conscious consumers who prefer the appeal of digesting their cannabis, rather than inhaling.
The downside of this growth in popularity is that children are drawn in with labels that suggest the marijuana based treats are candy.
Children are naturally attracted to candy and chocolate based treats. Suckers, gummy chews, and breath mints are all a temptation for children who do not realize the candy is infused with marijuana.
Many children have accidentally overdosed by ingesting the treats, pushing the industry towards better labeling practices. Additionally, the word “candy” would be removed from all marijuana edibles to protect children. Colorado already has a ban on cartoon characters appearing on packaging, and on packaging that closely resembles candy or other common household products.
Octagonal “stop” signs labeled THC would be required on all edibles as a warning to children and adults that the item contains cannabis. The stop-sign-like labels would be required on each individual food item, not simply on the package labeling, to ensure consumers are warned of the medicated status.
Liquids containing THC would be required to come in single serving packaging, with no more than 10 milligrams of THC per serving. Liquids are attractive to kids who are normally put off by the act of smoking or the unpleasant taste associated with certain edibles.
A marijuana leaf was originally proposed to help deter unsuspecting consumption, but was rejected because many people felt it was not a clear deterrent to children.
Diane Carlson is a representative for Smart Colorado, a group of parents who want better labeling practices. Carlson said, “It’s time we have a tool to really let people know there is pot in something.”
One facet of the proposed regulation would also require all edibles to be made from scratch. Currently, suppliers can take pre-manufactured food, and spray it with cannabis oil, making it difficult to discern what has been laced from the original product.
The rule would allow altered pre-made ingredients such as cookies ground down to make a pie crust, but the product would have to be unrecognizable from its original form.
There is much ambiguity in the wording of the proposal, leading Dan Anglin, of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, to ask, “Do I have to have chickens out back for the eggs?”
Some activists are lobbying for a two-fold labeling requirement, stating that not all edibles are appealing to children.
“I don’t think that items that aren’t attractive to kids like granola and salad dressing need to be held to the same high standard of marking, stamping or coloring,” said Representative Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont. “I’d like to see hard and fast rules for items that are attractive to kids and exceptions for others.”
The state has until January 2016 to implement a law established in 2014 that requires edible marijuana products to have a distinctive mark when they are no longer packaged.