Pubdate: Tue, 04 Feb 2014
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2014 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Trevor Hughes
Page: 3A


Denver - Would you like those pot brownies in regular or

Retailers across Colorado are baking, injecting, spraying and infusing
marijuana into every conceivable food as they race to meet demand for
edible pot.

Pot brownies are perhaps the best-known form, but you can buy
marijuana-infused foods ranging from candy to cookies, olive oil,
granola bars, chocolate truffles and spaghetti sauce.

"You name it, it's being made," says Julie Postlethwait of Colorado's
Division of Marijuana Enforcement.

Retail marijuana sales became legal in Colorado on Jan. 1, and shop
owners say they've been surprised at how strong the edibles market has
been. They credit anti-smoking campaigns with turning first-time pot
buyers into edibles advocates. Eating a cookie or sucking on a mint is
more discreet than smoking, especially for parents worried about going
home from a party reeking of pot.

"The smell is a big one," says Coit Stevenson, 28, of Denver, who has
tried edibles and smoking. He prefers smoking but says edibles are a
good alternative, especially for first-time users.

Sales by Denver-based Dixie Elixirs and Edibles jumped from about 10%
of the pre-Jan. 1 medical marijuana market to about 50% of the
recreational market, says Joe Hodas, the company's chief marketing

To make edibles, bakers extract THC - tetrahydrocannabinol, the active
chemical ingredient - from marijuana plants, usually suspending it in
an oil, and then incorporate that into food. Experts say edibles tend
to give a slightly different kind of "high" for users, because the THC
is absorbed and processed into the bloodstream through the stomach and
digestive system instead of the lungs. The high takes longer to kick
in and tends to last longer, Hodas says. A study last year in JAMA
Pediatrics found a spike in the number of young children treated for
accidentally eating pot in marijuana-laced cookies, candies and
beverages at Children's Hospital Colorado. In the two years after
marijuana laws were liberalized in fall 2009, 14 kids were treated for
accidental ingestion; in the four years before, none.

"It's not just baked goods - it's candy and soda. They're doctoring
regular food items," says Gina Carbone, a former PTA president and
mother of four. She worries regulations don't do enough. "We feel like
there are a lot of safeguards that are not being put in place to
protect our kids."
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