DENVER — When people buy marijuana from a store in Colorado, the ounce they can walk out the door with is fairly easy to measure. Not so when the pot is in concentrated form, perhaps baked into a cookie or brownie.
The state could soon address that issue with a bill pending in the House.
"An ounce of concentrate is a significant amount — it's probably close to about 10 times the amount that you would have in an ounce of the flowers," said Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer, who is co-sponsoring a bill that directs the state Department of Revenue to determine how much concentrated pot is equal to an ounce of leafy pot.
To put the difference between flower marijuana and concentrated pot in further context, Singer noted that "an ounce of concentrate would last most medical marijuana patients probably pretty close to a year."
Colorado currently allows adults over 21 to possess an ounce of marijuana for recreational use, but the legalization amendment that voters approved in 2012 makes no distinction between leafy green pot flowers or highly concentrated hash oil used to make pot-infused edibles.
Washington state, the only other state with legal recreational pot, already has limits of less than an ounce for hash oil, 16 ounces of pot food, and 72 fluid ounces of weed drinks.
Colorado's marijuana industry agrees there should be equivalency standards, and sent a letter a couple of weeks ago to the revenue department requesting as much. But Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said it will be a complicated process and that it's unclear right now what the equivalency standards should be.
"It's kind of like asking a question that doesn't have an answer," he said
Singer's bill comes amid isolated reports of children eating cookies or brownies containing concentrated hash oil.
Just last month, a Wyoming college student visiting Denver on spring break jumped to his death after eating a marijuana cookie. There was no indication how strong the cookie was, but the death stoked fears that concentrated marijuana products can be used to create large amounts of edible pot.
With the bill, Singer said lawmakers are also trying to stop the potential for people to illegally move pot out of state.
"The best way to have marijuana leave the state if I was a bad actor, if someone's a bad actor in this, is they wouldn't take the flowers out, or the bud out, they would take the concentrate out," he said.
House Bill 1361: http://bit.ly/1jZRBGY