Since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014, there have been concerns about whether consumers would be able to easily detect whether an edible was laced with marijuana or not.
Now, a new state law that went into effect this months requires all edible marijuana products to come with a diamond-shaped stamp and the clearly-marked letters, “THC.” The letters will be stamped not just on the packaging, but also directly onto the food item. This feature is to go not just on the brownies, but on candy and other edibles. The rule came about after numerous complaints from the public that marijuana candies and edibles looked to similar to those that did not contain the drug.
Colorado is the first state among those that have passed recreational marijuana laws to have passed such a requirement. This new rule mandates a symbol that will be universal for all foods that contain marijuana so that consumers will easily be able to tell just by looking at the packaging – or the food itself – whether it contains the drug. This should also help parents and teachers too. A marijuana-laden cookie being passed around the table at a school cafeteria will be more easily identifiable to someone simply looking at the treat, without having to actually smell or taste it.
This diamond-stamping rule comes in addition to a host of labeling and packaging requirements the state has already laid out, which include:
- Childproof lids
- Childproof zippers
- Warnings to keep products away from children
- Warnings to avoid consuming the foods while driving, nursing or pregnant
The goal, say lawmakers, is to make absolutely sure anyone can quickly tell the difference between a plain browning and a pot brownie.
The state has not released any figures that would indicate unintentional consumption of marijuana among children – or even adults – is a problem. However, a study conducted earlier this year that tracked the number of Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver admissions found treatment of children for accidental ingestion of marijuana leaped to 2.3 kids per 100,000 population two years after legalization. Two years before legalization, that figure was 1.2 per 100,000.
Still, the hospital data seems to indicate accidental ingestion of marijuana is pretty rare. Between 2009 and 2015, the facility reports 81 children were treated for accidentally consuming marijuana. In approximately one-third of those cases, poor product storage and/or child supervision was cited.
This new law was passed more than 12 months ago, but there were a number of difficulties in actually implementing it, which meant it took time to actually finalize. Still, Colorado is ahead of the curve, as no other states that allow recreational marijuana have a requirement to mark the actual product, not just the packaging.
From a marijuana lawyer viewpoint, it may actually be a smart move for makers of cannabis edibles to start taking this initiative on their own, strictly for liability purposes. Product liability lawsuits often hinge on a manufacturer/ distributor’s failure to warn customers of possible hazards when using/ consuming the product. By indicating clearly on the package and the product that psychoactive ingredients are contained within, product makers can help to insulate themselves from potential injury lawsuits.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Colorado gives marijuana edibles a new look to avoid confusion, Sept. 30, 2016, Associated Press
More Blog Entries:
Los Angeles Medical Cannabis Candy Makers Speaks to Parents about Concerns, Oct. 12, 2016, Denver Marijuana Attorney Blog