Tightens Control On Marijuana Edibles, Concentrates
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[May 22, 2014]
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado Governor John
Hickenlooper signed legislation on Wednesday to tighten controls on
edible and concentrated forms of marijuana, as concerns mounted about
safety issues after two deaths possibly linked to the ingestion of
Voters in Colorado approved a landmark ballot measure legalizing
recreational marijuana for adults in 2012, and lawmakers have been
working to hone cannabis regulation since the nation's first
state-licensed retail outlets for pot opened in January.
Recreational marijuana was approved by voters in Washington state at
the same time, and cannabis is set to go commercial there, too, this
Wednesday's move in Colorado to tighten rules on edible goods made
with pot comes after two adult deaths possibly linked to such
products. Meanwhile, a Colorado children's hospital said it has seen
an uptick in the number of admissions of children who ingested
marijuana-laced foods since the start of the year.
"Since the ... legalization of recreational marijuana sales,
Children's Colorado has treated nine children, six of whom became
critically ill from edible marijuana," the statement from Colorado
Children's Hospital said.
The first law signed by the governor on Wednesday creates a task
force to devise packaging for cannabis-infused edibles such as
cookies and candy that makes those products readily distinguishable
from regular foods.
"Sadly, cases of children ingesting marijuana are on the rise in
Colorado," said state Senator Mike Johnston, the bill's primary
sponsor. "By improving labeling and giving kids a way to tell the
difference between a snack and a harmful substance, we can keep kids
... out of the emergency room."
The second law regulates the amount of concentrated marijuana that
can be sold to an individual, closing a legal gap that treats one
ounce of leafy pot the same as an equivalent amount of more powerful
forms of the drug, such as hash oil.
A student from the Republic of Congo who attended college in Wyoming
jumped to his death from a hotel balcony in March after ingesting
six times the suggested maximum amount of marijuana cookies,
according to the Denver medical examiner's office.
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Levi Thamba Pongi had come to Colorado on spring break along with
several friends to sample marijuana. Hours after ingesting an entire
marijuana cookie meant to be eaten in smaller doses, he began
behaving violently, culminating with his balcony leap.
The Denver coroner's office listed "marijuana intoxication" as a
contributing factor in Pongi's death.
In another incident, a Denver man was accused of shooting his wife
to death as she was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher,
saying her husband had used pot, was hallucinating and was
frightening her and the couple's three children.
A search warrant affidavit filed in the case said Richard Kirk had
recently purchased a joint and pot-infused candy from a marijuana
shop, though it noted that Kirk may have been under the influence of
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ken Wills)
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