Lawmakers eye potency limits on pot products
The Associated Press
DENVER — Two hot-button marijuana measures dealing with the potency and appearance of edibles will be considered by Colorado lawmakers in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Legislators heard testimony Thursday on both bills but votes were not expected until next week.
One bill would 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. However, in its concentrated form, an ounce of pot has far more servings than the same amount in plant form.
The situation has raised concerns about people illegally smuggling the drug out of state in concentrated form as well as consumers possibly ingesting more marijuana than they intended.
“The idea is simply that we make it so that you can’t go in and buy the equivalent of 10 ounces of loose marijuana, you can go in and buy whatever the equivalent of an ounce is,” said Christian Sedergerg, a marijuana attorney who worked on the voter-approved amendment that legalized the drug.
The bill directs the state Department of Revenue to determine how much concentrated pot is equal to an ounce of leafy pot.
Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer, a sponsor of the bill, said lawmakers want to keep the drug away from criminals and children.
Another bill would broaden a ban on certain types of edibles to include products that mimic other foods or candies.
Republican Rep. Frank McNulty, one of the bill sponsors, said there is concern about possible accidental ingestion by children who can’t tell the diffeence.
To illustrate his point, McNulty showed lawmakers a tray with gummy bears, cookies and other sweets. Some contained marijuana.
“If you can’t tell the difference, how is a 3-year-old?” he asked.
Some marijuana activists fear the bill could ban any type of edible pot.
Dr. Michael DiStefano, medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospital, testified in support of both bills. He told lawmakers the hospital’s emergency department has treated seven children so far this year who became ill ingesting marijuana edibles. Last year, the hospital treated a total of eight children for the problem.
Marijuana overdoses are not lethal, but DiStefano said doctors are worried about complications to children with a low body mass who ingest pot with high concentration levels.
He said the children who were hospitalized acted erratically, had an altered mental status and severe depression.