Scrutiny on Sweets With Ascent of MJ in Colorado
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Scrutiny on Sweets With Ascent of MJ in Colorado
Posted by CN Staff on October 30, 2014 at 05:15:28 PT
By Jack Healy
Source: New York Times
Denver -- As Halloween approached, the Denver Police Department and a marijuana-store owner teamed up to film a public service video that could exist only in this weird new world of legalized pot.Marijuana, they cautioned parents of trick-or-treaters, does not always look like marijuana. More and more these days, it can mimic Sour Patch Kids, Jolly Ranchers and gummy bears, and the police urged parents to double-check their children’s Halloween haul for any suspicious-looking candies that might be infused with marijuana.
“There’s really no way to tell the difference,” Patrick Johnson, the owner of Urban Dispensary, says in the video. He added, “It’s best just to toss that stuff into the trash.”To some marijuana advocates, the warning belongs with shadowy urban legends about poisoned chocolates and candy bars spiked with razor blades. There have not been any reported cases of marijuana-laced treats being passed out on Halloween here, and edible marijuana comes in drab packages that look nothing like regular candy. Still, the Halloween message underscored a growing concern among parents’ groups and regulators that the abundant new varieties of legal, edible marijuana just look too much like regular food.Since recreational marijuana sales began here in January, edible pot has become a top seller at dispensaries across Colorado, a sweet and tasty way for wary first-timers to sample marijuana, or for people to get high without coughing and reeking of smoke. But a spate of accidental ingestions by children and adults, and two deaths tied to edibles this year, have prompted widespread calls to clamp down on the edible corner of the marijuana market.While some companies are making mandarin-flavored sodas and rich dark-chocolate bars infused with the drug, advocates for tighter marijuana regulation say that others are simply coating brightly colored bulk candy and child-friendly breakfast cereals with cannabis oil and selling it at a huge markup. And critics argue that even seasoned marijuana consumers are getting sick or losing control after eating marijuana snacks that proved far more potent than they had realized. A single candy bar or soda could be packed with enough THC — the major psychoactive chemical in marijuana — to serve 10 people.Under new rules approved by state regulators, some potent candies that once contained 100-milligram doses of THC are being pared back to 10 milligrams a serving, the amount that has been designated as a discrete dose. And starting next February, more edibles will come in childproof packages and will be wrapped up in plastic and foil sheets similar to those that encase prescription pills.But some officials think the new rules do not go far enough.This month, Colorado’s public health department went so far as to recommend a ban on almost all forms of edible marijuana, from brownies to cookies and chewy candies, saying their proliferation was confusing consumers and baiting children who could not tell the difference. The proposal has not gained much traction, but it showed the deep divisions between marijuana makers and public health officials who are now sparring over how to package edibles, whether they need clearer labels and markings, and exactly how strictly they should be regulated.Julie Dooley and a business partner started making marijuana-infused treats years before voters in Colorado and Washington State became the first to make marijuana legal for adult recreational users. It helped ease their health problems and worked for women with anxiety problems. These users wanted to consume discreetly around their children, so baking with cannabis-rich butter seemed like an ideal choice. Today, Ms. Dooley’s company, Julie’s Baked Goods, sells granola, granola bars, sunflower seeds and chocolates infused with cannabis to more than 30 dispensaries around the state.Ms. Dooley said she was aghast at the proposal to ban her granola, and said it appeared illegal under Amendment 64, the voter-approved measure that enshrined marijuana legalization in Colorado’s Constitution. But it also showed that regulators did not understand the industry, she said.“They clearly did not consider why we created edibles in the first place,” she said. “We believe wholeheartedly that this is a medicine.”She and other marijuana-business owners said the fear surrounding edibles had outstripped reality. During the first half of the year, emergency-room doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado raised alarms after treating nine children who had accidentally eaten marijuana — more than the entire number of such cases in 2013. Since the end of May, the hospital has had five additional cases of children sickened by eating marijuana.“There’s no crisis, there’s no emergency,” Ms. Dooley said. “The fear is so huge right now.”But officials with Colorado’s poison-control center say that calls about young children exposed to marijuana had risen from 11 in 2010 to 26 last year, after recreational marijuana was legalized but before retail sales began. Adults, too, have been fooled. In August, seven people attending Denver’s county fair said they accidentally ate marijuana-laced chocolates from a vendor at the fair’s inaugural Pot Pavilion who had assured them the candies were marijuana-free.“We cannot tell which is infused and which is not,” said Gina Carbone, a founding member of Smart Colorado, which advocates tighter controls to keep marijuana away from children.One Colorado company has begun wooing worried parents with $15 marijuana-testing kits that use a THC-sensitive solution to quickly determine whether an innocuous-looking cookie or candy is packing a hidden punch.And some advocates say edibles should have a mark or stamp that identifies them unmistakably as marijuana, the same way the Hershey’s brand is stamped right on a chocolate bar, or how M&M candies and Jelly Belly jelly beans are each airbrushed with an insignia.But makers of edibles have resisted the idea, saying it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy the necessary equipment, raising the price of edibles and potentially driving more customers out of the stores and back onto the black market. And there are practical problems, they say: How do you put a unique stamp on a soft toffee chew or a package of granola? And some makers say that branding a chocolate bar as “MARIJUANA” might actually have perverse effects, making it more attractive to curious children.Lindsay Topping, the marketing director of Dixie Elixirs and Edibles, a Denver-based maker of marijuana-infused drinks and candies, said the company was already preparing a new line of child-resistant packages. But ultimately, she said, the safety of an edible depended largely on the customer.“I can’t control how a parent stores this,” she said. “It’s out of my hands once it gets into that home.”A version of this article appears in print on October 30, 2014, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: New Scrutiny on Sweets With Ascent of Marijuana. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Jack Healy Published: October 30, 2014Copyright: 2014 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #3 posted by observer on October 31, 2014 at 18:36:51 PT
True as Blue Star Acid and Strawberry Quick Meth
Prohibitionists/police state are really desperate to smear cannabis in any way possible. This lying myth will probably be around forever, like "Blue Star Acid", or "Strawberry Quick Meth", police were "warning" parents about a few short years back. -
"Poisoned candy myths are urban legends that malevolent individuals could hide poison or drugs, or sharp objects such as razor blades, needles, or broken glass in candy and distribute the candy in order to harm random children, especially during Halloween trick-or-treating." etc.Same old, same old. Police state can always rely on Mockingbird MSM to distribute any purported bad news about pot far and wide; and at the same time police state can rely on MSM to stay mum about the healing qualities of cannabis.
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on October 30, 2014 at 06:59:03 PT
Annual Halloween Fearmongering – 2014 Style
Every year we hear the same cautions regarding Halloween candy and children and all those terrible ghouls and goblins, trolls and orcs, ready to poison the kids or feed them "razor blades in the apples."The only problem is that I have never seen an actual case
of someone handing out apples on Halloween without also seeing said apple being unceremoniously pitched at the nearest passing truck or bus in disgust.I'm sure it (the old apple in the razor trick) happened somewhere. It would be statistically absurd to insist otherwise. (They are still talking about Lizzie Borden – maybe that's what happened).Consider the expense of buying marijuana edibles for the express purpose of handing them out as a Halloween prank.Until I see it reported in the news by a reliable source, I consider this just another attempt by Big Prohibition to throw their Luddite-inspired weight around.As a locksmith, I see this as a great opportunity to sell locking cabinetry.As to child safety regarding legitimate users:The obvious answer is to pass a law stating that the packaging for all cannabis-containing edibles require a handgun to open. That oughta to do it. (Everybody has one of those in Colorado).Is this nuts? You bet!The world has gone insane and we are all witnesses.STOP THE MADNESS!FREE THE PRISONER OF SCHEDULE ONE!NOW WE UNDERSTAND WHY THE LIBERTY BELL CRACKED!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 30, 2014 at 05:20:21 PT
Liquor Cabinet
When I was young my parents had a liquor cabinet. It was filled with all kinds of hard liquor. They told me never to consider taking any at all from the cabinet. They said if I want to have a drink when I was 21 it would be legal but never before that age. Never did I violate that. Parents need to set guidelines down. It is the parents responsibility.
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