Health Dept. Aims to Curb Marketing, Distribution of Edible Pot Products in Colorado

 

E-cigarette color collection

The recreational marijuana market in Colorado has grown considerably since the state legalized the substance two years ago. In that time, more items have appeared on the market that allow users to ingest, rather than smoke, pot — from sodas and teas to brownies and candies.

But Colorado health authorities now want the state to form a new panel to decides which of these foods look too much like regular snacks.

Part of the concern stems from the concern that these snacks could attract children, who may confuse the items for drug-free cookies and candies.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommended last month that the state should ban the sale of most kinds of edible pot. However, after the statement went public, the department retracted it.

According to records obtained by the Associated Press on Nov. 16, the Health Department now wants to establish a new state commission to give “pre-market approval” before these foods and drinks can be sold, and to decide on which types of foods can be sold. Because many of these items resemble children’s candies and other treats, the Health Department aims to limit these foods, so marijuana doesn’t seem “fun” for kids, according to its recommendation.

Marijuana products aren’t the only item to come under fire from critics and lawmakers. New York City legislators have tried to ban electronic cigarettes because the flavors, which can include fruit, candy, coffee, and others, could attract kids and teens.

And teens are using e-cigarettes more, with 4.5% of high school-age teens surveyed in 2013 reporting that they’ve used an e-cig within the last 30 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That figure is up from 2.8% of teens using e-cigs in 2012.

Pot-related business owners in Colorado are unhappy with the government’s decision. Some say that it runs counter to the state’s constitutional amendment, which was voted into law.

The decisions concerning Colorado’s edible pot market won’t be made by lawmakers until 2015; in the meantime, the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division continues to meet with industry representatives, health officials and law enforcement. The Health Department declined to comment on the revised suggestion, which hasn’t yet been made public.

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