Part of the allure of pot brownies is that they look exactly like regular brownies, allowing for a degree of discretion for consumers. However, you don't want to be the person to unknowingly eat one—you could be in for a wild, weird ride.
Now, thanks to fears that kids might accidentally consume some of the incredible (legal) edibles that have proliferated in weed-friendly Colorado, brownies and other marijuana foods sold in the state will be branded with a triangle stamp containing an exclamation point and the letters "T-H-C." Sort of like a biohazard symbol, but for weed.
As of October 1, edible marijuana products like chocolate bars and candies will need to be sold in childproof packaging and imprinted with the newly established universal symbol of "This Is Going to Get You Baked as Fuck," which measures a quarter-inch by a quarter-inch. Things that can't be stamped, like granola, will have to come in containers with labels disclosing that there sure is some dank marijuana in there.
"We want to ensure that people genuinely know the difference between a Duncan Hines brownie and a marijuana brownie just by looking at it," Colorado representative Jonathan Singer, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said to CBS News.
It's unclear whether there has been a major uptick in instances of children accidentally eating weed. But one study that tracked marijuana-related admissions for kids at a Colorado hospital from 2009 to 2015 found that the rate rose from 1.2 cases per 100,000 children to 2.3 per 100,000, an increase the study described as "significant."
The universal symbol comes with some costs for producers operating in the burgeoning marijuana edibles economy. Blue Kudu, which produces marijuana chocolate bars for the recreational and medical market, had to spend $30,000 on new molds featuring the stamp and another $50,000 in other costs to be compliant with the new regulation. The company's founder, Andrew Schrot, says the new childproof packaging is about ten times the price as the old wrapper. He thinks the universal symbol is a move in the right direction, but believes that more needs to be done to ensure the stamp's meaning is clear to kids.
"For children there is some education that needs to be coupled with the symbol," Schrot told MUNCHIES. "I grew up in the 1980s with the D.A.R.E. program, and I think it was a great program that was very effective."
Schrot says one earlier proposal of the stamp contained an image of a stop sign, which may have been more effective in conveying that the item was off-limits to children than the exclamation point and THC lettering. (Regardless, Colorado has created a design that will undoubtedly become a popular tattoo.)
But that being said, meaning is in the eye of the beholder—while the symbol may spell "steer clear" for many, for others, it will scream "eat me."