The state House of Representatives this week unanimously passed a
bill limiting the amount of concentrated marijuana that can be sold,
and another bill requiring more specific labeling of pot-laced
products, such as candies and baked goods.
Rep. Frank McNulty, a Republican from suburban Denver, said the
measures are needed to protect the public and assure that edibles
are not mistakenly consumed by children.
"The packages of edibles are labeled that they contain marijuana,
but once they're out of the package, they're indistinguishable from
a brownie or lollipop bought at a grocery store," he said.
The bills will next be heard by the state Senate, where they appear
to also have bipartisan support, McNulty said, adding that
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper has not indicated if he will
sign the measures into law should they reach his desk.
Voters in Colorado legalized the possession and use of cannabis by
adults in 2012, and the first retail pot shops opened in the state
McNulty said the need for the legislation is punctuated by two
recent deaths in Denver that have possible connections to edible
Last month, Levi Thamba Pongi, a student from the Republic of Congo
who attended college in Wyoming, leaped to his death from a hotel
balcony after ingesting six times the suggested amount of marijuana
cookies, according to the Denver medical examiner's office.
Pongi had come to Colorado on spring break along with several
friends to sample marijuana. Investigators noted that the clerk at
the store who sold the group the pot warned them not to eat an
entire cookie at once.
However, Pongi ingested an entire cookie after he did not
immediately feel the effects of marijuana. Hours later, he began
behaving violently, culminating with his leap off the fourth-story
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The Denver coroner's office listed "marijuana intoxication" as a
contributing factor in Pongi's death.
In the other incident, a 47-year-old Denver man is accused of
shooting his wife to death as she was on the phone with a 911
dispatcher, saying that her husband had used marijuana, was
hallucinating and was frightening her and the couple's three
A search warrant affidavit filed in the case by a Denver police
sergeant said Richard Kirk had recently purchased a joint and
pot-infused candy from a marijuana shop, although he noted that Kirk
may have been under the influence of prescription painkillers.
Kirk has been charged with first-degree murder for his wife's
slaying and what, if any, substances he had in his system has not
been publicly released.
Mike Elliot, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry
Group, said his organization asked lawmakers to clarify the current
law on concentrated marijuana, such as hash oil, months before the
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and G. Crosse)
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