Colorado lawmakers delay decision on pot edibles

By: The Associated Press
May 1, 2014 Updated: May 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm
Caption +
FILE - In this April 18, 2014 file photo a caregiver points out the strength of an edible marijuana candy bar at a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver. In its entirety the candy bar is as strong at 30 marijuana joints. Colorado's marijuana experiment is under threat by the very popularity of eating it instead of smoking it, so the pot industry is joining health officials and state regulators in studying the problem of consumers eating too much too quickly. They plan to meet Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at Children's Hospital Colorado to discuss the potency and serving size of pot edibles. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

DENVER — Lawmakers held off on a directive to implement new restrictions on marijuana edibles in Colorado Thursday, but they will study the issue to consider legislation next year.

Legislators are also advancing a measure to limit pot in its concentrated form.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved a proposal calling for a study on what rules there should be on how edibles look to prevent accidental ingestions of marijuana-infused cookies or candies. The bill was amended from its original form, which would have directed state regulators to broaden a ban on certain types of edibles to include products that mimic other foods or candies.

Lawmakers and supporters of the bill are particularly concerned that children could accidentally eat a marijuana product because they can't tell the difference between gummy bears with pot and those without it, for example.

"These products are enticing to children," said Diane Carlson of Smart Colorado, an advocacy group that lobbies to limit youth marijuana use. Supporters of the bill brought a tray of pot-infused candy to show lawmakers.

The bill, as it was introduced, would have directed the state Department of Revenue to adopt rules requiring that marijuana edibles be clearly marked or designed to show that they contain pot.

Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, said she believes there's agreement that edibles pose a risk for accidental ingestions or people consuming more than they intended.

"I think what we probably disagree on is what's the best way to fix that," she said.

Aguilar proposed the amendment calling for a study on what regulations on edibles should be considered and broadening the scope of potential restrictions to include edible marijuana used for medicinal purposes. Aguilar also wants to look at dosing in edibles.

The study is supposed to yield recommendations in November. The bill still needs to be considered by the full Senate.

The committee also advanced another bill to set possession limits for concentrated forms of marijuana such as hash oil.

Currently, Colorado adults can possess up to an ounce of marijuana without regard to whether it's leafy flowers or concentrated oils. But in its concentrated form, an ounce of pot has far more servings than the same amount in plant form.

The bill directs the state Department of Revenue to determine how much concentrated pot is equal to an ounce of leafy pot by January 2016.

That bill faces another committee vote before heading to the full Senate.

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