By Ian Lebowski
Colorado State was the first to be declared cannabis-friendly after legalizing medical marijuana in 2000. During that time, only a few regulations governed distribution and use of the drug. However, certain concerns have led to new rules and guidelines for cultivation, distribution, acquisition and use of marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes.
This far, edibles have proven to be broadly appealing. Many people do not want to smoke or inhale cannabis. This has seen an upsurge in the number of marijuana-infused edibles found on the shelves in different states today. The drug is also versatile and people have noticed they can add it to the recipes of almost any food.
Without proper regulation of edibles, consumers have suffered accidental health consequences. There have been cases of intoxication resulting from consuming high levels of THC in marijuana-infused foods. Some people, especially children, have mistaken such edibles for normal snacks, thus ending up in hospitals.
A 2016 report by The JAMA Network showed a 5-fold increase in cases of children less than 10 years exposed to marijuana handled in Colorado hospitals between 2009 and 2015. 48% of these cases were as a result of marijuana edibles.
In 2016, a Canadian government task force on marijuana legalization and regulation looked at the public health concerns on edibles, among other things. The task force came up with recommendations on cannabis regulations touching on 4 major aspects of cannabis-infused foods. These include packaging, portion sizes, labeling, and maximum THC content.
Current Regulations on Marijuana-infused foods
1. Marijuana edibles should come in a standard size of serving that contains not more than 10 mg of THC
Standardized serving makes it easier for consumers to estimate how much THC they are ingesting into their bodies no matter the product they buy or consume. Some states that enacted this policy include Colorado, Washington, and California etc.
- There should be clear indication of THC amount per serving on packages
Several states, including Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, and California have enacted this regulation. Some states, such as Colorado, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, have gone further to describe the kind of lettering acceptable on such containers. This enhances the visibility of the information about the content of the product.
- All marijuana edibles should be sold in opaque, re-sealable, and child-proof packaging
Until recently, marijuana was distributed in small plastic bags that could go for $10 or $25 per package. Marijuana edibles could be displayed in shelves like any other food. Some packages looked like normal snacks.
To ensure children’s safety, many states embraced this policy which was originally enacted in Colorado and Washington. Besides Colorado and Washington, this regulation is now live in Arizona, California, Illinois, Alaska, and Hawaii, among others.
So far, Colorado and Washington have the most comprehensive regulations about legal marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles. The above requirements were first carried out in Colorado. However, they have become the basic references for other regulations enacted in every other US state that has legalized marijuana.
In October 2016, Colorado went further to enhance the safety of marijuana edibles by ruling out that all packaging should have the standardized servings imprinted on the packaging, followed by a sign that contains the letters “THC”. The new rule prohibited packaging that may appeal to children as well.
So far, consumers, marijuana edibles manufacturers, cannabis testing labs, and regulators have embraced marijuana regulation. The public feels that their voices have been heard, and any reasonable manufacturer doesn’t want any person to die after consuming their product as a result of food poisoning. Arcview Market Research reports that the legal marijuana market has grown immensely after legalization. It’s a growth that is largely attributed to the presence of smoking alternatives such as edibles in the legal market.
VolcanoVape founder and vape enthusiast, Ian Lebowski has been involved in marijuana industry for close to a decade now. Originally working in quality control and testing, he has reviewed hundreds of vape products over the years.