Yesterday in Colorado, fans of edible marijuana were handed a victory, of sorts, when a state lawmaker withdrew her proposal to ban such products, replacing it with an option to follow child-proof packaging guidelines. After the bill was changed, the House Judiciary Committee approved it in a 7-3 vote.
Earlier this month, many dozens of pro-marijuana activists testified against the proposed ban on pot-infused consumables. The bill’s sponsor said her intent was to prevent marijuana-laced candy and other sweets from being “improperly” eaten by children, but patients – and some doctors – pointed out that it’s actually safer to eat marijuana than it is to smoke it.
The bill’s sponsor, state Representative Cindy Acree, said after the vote that she never meant to limit patients’ access to edible cannabis. The new version of the bill, which must pass another committee hearing before going before the full House, merely allows tamper-proof packages.
Acree, a Republican from Aurora, said, her “…biggest concern in all this is the safety of children.”
Regulations on the safe production of marijuana edibles – including labeling requirements – have already been proposed by the Colorado Department of Revenue, and although Acree’s bill was watered down considerably, some members of the Judiciary Committee are uncertain as to whether packaging for edible marijuana products needs to be addressed in the law at all.
Democratic Representative Sue Ryden, also of Aurora, voted against Acree’s bill. She told the press, “We’re getting so far down in the weeds in the specifics that I could see use coming back next year and the next year and the next.”
Some of the pro-pot contingent who attended the vote also said the revised version of the bill should have been rejected. One of them, Laura Kriho, the outreach coordinator for the Cannabis Therapy Institute, pointed out that state regulators have been moving toward label requirements already.
“It’s unnecessary,” she said, speaking about the amended bill.
The state’s largest pro-marijuana lobby, the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, applauded the changes in the bill, specifically paying attention to edibles not being banned, after all.
In a statement, Stacey Vilos-Fauth, owner of Gaia’s Garden Group, an edible marijuana producer, said, “Banning edibles would hurt our patients’ ability to access their medicine, so this compromise is a much-needed step towards protecting that access.”
The revised form of the bill didn’t just remove the ban on edibles. It also removed limits on marijuana advertising, and removed a specific reference to “food and drink,” in order to prevent any food safety requirement issues.