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Legal Weed Edibles Are Going to Look a Lot Different by Next Year

Colorado lawmakers voted yesterday that by January 2016, edibles must have some kind of visual designation that they're going to get you baked out of your skull.
Hilary Pollack
Los Angeles, US
Photo via Flickr user sweetonveg

A couple of times a year (if not more), a story hits the news about a mishap with a little old granny or members of a local police force or an entire classroom full of kindergarteners mistakenly plowing through a tray of weed brownies, only figuring out far too late that they were about to be totally baked out of their fucking skulls.

In Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized and regulated since January 2014, this issue has been worrying officials, as now any irresponsible college student with a penchant for getting ripped can pick up pot in any number of edible forms—cookies, candies, sodas, popsicles, you name it. Which is good and fine for the proud stoners, but also increases the likelihood of cannabis teetotalers—such as children, pets, squares with fragile psyches, and senile octogenarians—accidentally going on an Excellent Adventure of the Bill & Ted variety.


READ: No One's Trying to Poison Your Kids' Halloween Candy

Colorado lawmakers voted yesterday that by January 1, 2016, pot edibles must have some kind of visual designation—namely, to be "shaped, stamped, colored or otherwise marked, when practicable, with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children." And we're not talking packaging: this means the actual ganja cookie or endo enchilada or what have you needs to look sus enough that it can be easily differentiated from a non-stony counterpart.

Needless to say, Colorado's booming edibles industry (5 million edibles were sold in the state last year) was highly (pun intended) disappointed by the decision—which was cemented by a 0-5 bipartisan vote on a bill sponsored by Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver). The bill would have revoked a 2014 requirement that marijuana edibles be marked with an identifiable, standardized symbol, and the edibles industry was eager to see it overturned.

Makers within the marijuana food industry believe that the new mandate is expensive, impractical, and a form of micromanagement, as it could prove difficult to put, say, a large weed-leaf-shaped stamp on something like liquids, granola, or mints—and could be a slippery slope toward denying other freedoms for the state's marijuana users and distributors.

"For instance, it might be easy to require that all brownies with pot in them be shaped like a marijuana leaf—but how do you tell if tomato sauce is infused with the drug?" US News & World Report helpfully points out. Realistically, no one is sure how the requirement will be implemented without some products being forced off the market.

In addition to helping to prevent the accidental ingestion of marijuana, lawmakers believe that the new requirement will be helpful in emergency rooms—where people often flock unsure why they're suddenly zonked out as hell, but suspecting the banana bread they found in their teenage son's drawer.

In 2013, eight children were admitted to the emergency room of Children's Hospital Colorado after accidentally ingesting their parents' pot food. Although this number is relatively low, it is a jump from the 2005–2013 time bracket, an eight-year span during which only eight children total were admitted.

Since legalization, the trend has increased, though cases still remain relatively scarce. Colorado's poison control center told the New York Times in late 2014 that the calls regarding marijuana exposure by children had increased from 11 in 2010 to 26 in total over the past year. With 5 million ganja treats floating around the state, these numbers seem surprisingly low. (Lest we forget, your child is 136 times more likely to be poisoned by diaper cream than by cannabis, statistically speaking.)

So what does all of this mean? Basically, that your weed cookies are going to be harder to get through airport security—but your niece is a little less likely to prematurely experience the weird wonders of your stash.