June 4, 2014 Updated: June 4, 2014 at 6:51 pm
A proposal unveiled Wednesday would require quarterly potency testing for weaker foods and drinks infused with pot, those that contain less than 10 milligrams of THC, marijuana's psychoactive chemical. Marijuana producers that want to include multiple "servings" of pot in a single package would have to test each batch for potency and contaminants.
The proposal is the latest wrinkle in Colorado's ongoing struggle to set the world's first regulatory regime for food items containing pot.
Recreational marijuana sales began January in Colorado, and edible items are a booming part of the new market. An industry representative on the work group, Dan Anglin of EdiPure Brands, estimated that 8 million to 12 million servings of edible marijuana have been sold in Colorado this year.
Current law requires edible marijuana to be sold in 10 milligram servings, with a maximum of 100 milligrams of THC per package. The products also carry warning labels.
Despite those safeguards, the popularity of marijuana-infused cookies and sodas has raised concerns about overconsumption and accidental ingestion by children. A legalization critic on the task force, Republican state Rep. Frank McNulty, read aloud parts of a piece by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who wrote Tuesday of going into a "hallucinatory state" after visiting Colorado and trying pot candy and eating too much.
The draft proposal would require edible marijuana products that contain multiple servings to be demarked into easily identifiable servings.
Foods would have to come with easily breakable pieces stamped "10 THC" — imagine a chocolate bar with scored lines that easily break apart. Foods that can't be easily demarked — think granola or pot-infused liquids — would be limited to 10 milligrams for the entire package.
A toxicologist on the panel, Dr. Michael Kosnett of the Colorado School of Public Health, questioned whether quarterly testing would be frequent enough for weaker edibles. The state's top pot regulator, Barbara Brohl of the Colorado Department of Revenue, pointed out that the testing would be random.
A final proposal on how to update the edible marijuana regulation hasn't been made. The work group is also considering an education requirement for the people who sell marijuana products, along with a brochure telling consumers how much to eat if they've never eaten pot before and warning them that it can take two hours or more for the marijuana to take effect.