Edible marijuana policy in Texas expected to be different from Colorado
Colorado is cracking down on food made with marijuana, and industry leaders say it will be disastrous, making it a lot tougher for people to consume cannabis without smoking it.
A bi-partisan committee voted 5-0 to reject a bill which would loosen planned regulations to require that all edibles look different from regular foods. Packaging will not be enough, all food must have a distinct look, “shaped, stamped, colored or otherwise marked, when practicable, with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children” by 2016.
“How do we distinguish liquids versus granolas versus candies versus cookies versus brownies?” asked Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs.
Sen. Hill submitted the bill to repeal the requirement, essentially requiring that the regulations be re-written by a state agency which says they are unsure of how to implement the current law.
Opponents said that they would be unable to tell what they are getting at events where food has already been unwrapped.
“As an industry, there’s no real way to clearly mark every item that’s out there,” said Bob Eschino, president of Incredibles, which makes marijuana-infused chocolates and other treats. “That is impracticable.”
As Texas looks to legalize medical marijuana this year, similar questions and regulations could come up.
Heather Fazio, the Texas Political Director of Marijuana Policy Project and representative of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, says that examples have been often exaggerated by the media.
“Edible cannabis does create unique challenges, but it should be noted that the problems associated with edible cannabis seem to be exaggerated by the media. For example, in Colorado alone, about 5 million edible products were sold last year and there were only 2-3 tragic incidents — all of which still have some questions remaining, suggesting that there were some underlying issues in those case and that this is very uncommon.”
No deaths or serious health problems have arisen from the consumption of marijuana-infused products.
Fazio continued, “government does not have to be the solution to every problem. Education and public awareness campaigns have proven to be much more effective with regard to public health and safety. Consumers should read and follow labeling instructions and parents are responsible for ensuring that, like alcohol, cannabis products are out of reach of children.”
Marijuana food has been very popular in states where marijuana is sold for either medical or recreational purposes, and has been touted as being a much more effective way of consuming cannabis.
“Properly labeled edibles account for a large percentage of the cannabis products being purchased in states where either medical or retail sales are legal,” Fazio states. “Many patients and new consumers prefer to use this product in a way other than smoking, which is actually a good thing considering the fact that smoking is the least healthful way to consume cannabis.”
Texas has often been a leader in reducing burdensome regulations on businesses, however Fazio expects there will be reasonable regulation to ensure people know what they’re purchasing and consuming.
“In Texas, we expect there to be labeling requirements (potency and dosing). We also expect that there will be a storm of public awareness campaigns helping to spread the message about safe use. Our motto in other states has been, ‘Start low and go slow’.”
By: Stephen Carter
Email Texas Cannabis Report at Contact@txcann.com