Pubdate: Tue, 02 Feb 2016
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2016 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit
Note: By The (Corvallis) Gazette-Times


Regulators with the state of Oregon are proposing a very cautious set 
of rules to govern what's certain to be a brisk market in marijuana 
edibles - cookies, candies, drinks and a surprising variety of other 
items that can swallowed instead of inhaled.

It's the right call. Experiences in Colorado and Washington state, 
two states that legalized the use of recreational marijuana before 
Oregon, suggest that edibles deserve extra amounts of caution. Oregon 
is wise to be acting accordingly.

Colorado officials were surprised by the popularity of edibles in 
that state; one analysis suggests that edibles accounted for roughly 
a third of recreational marijuana sales there last year. That went 
hand-in-hand with a surge in the number of calls to poison hotlines 
and visits to emergency rooms prompted in part by people who had 
unknowingly ingested considerably more THC, the active ingredient in 
marijuana, than they had thought.

One of the key issues here involves inexperienced users, who may not 
understand that one pot-infused marijuana chocolate bar, for example, 
could contain 10 or so servings - and so it would be a bad idea for 
one person to swallow the entire bar in one sitting. (It makes 
matters worse that ingested pot doesn't take effect as quickly as 
inhaled pot - and so an impatient inexperienced user might decide to 
take a second or third helping, with unintended results.)

(Similarly, marijuana smokers who haven't lit up in years need to 
remember that today's marijuana is considerably more potent than it 
used to be; keep in mind that Colorado slogan, "Start low. Go slow.")

The Oregon rules about edibles go to lengths to ensure that the 
products clearly designate how much represents one serving: So, for 
example, that chocolate bar sold on the recreational market would be 
made up of 5 milligram servings - and the bar would be clearly marked 
to designate the size of a single serving. The entire bar could have 
no more than 50 milligrams of THC - 10 servings in all.

Products where it's more difficult to identify or designate a single 
serving size would be limited to a total of 10 milligrams.

The other important issue at stake here is being as sure as possible 
that edibles don't fall into the hands of children, who are used to 
devouring a single candy bar or cookie in one sitting - and who might 
not be able to read warnings on the packaging (or who may not care). 
The Oregon rules require that edibles be sold in child-resistant 
packaging. That packaging cannot feature cartoons or superheroes. 
State officials also plan to require that marijuana products bear a 
universal warning sign - a picture of a marijuana leaf next to an 
exclamation mark.

These restrictions all seem reasonable, especially when you consider 
that the number of cases reported to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center 
regarding young children ingesting marijuana increased from five in 
2013 to 22 last year, according to a story in The Oregonian newspaper.

Arguments from marijuana proponents that the rules are overly 
restrictive and could needlessly constrain the state's growing number 
of marijuana entrepreneurs just don't hold much water.

The popularity of edible marijuana products caught Colorado 
off-guard. In Oregon, we have no such excuse. Shame of us if we can't 
learn from the Colorado experience.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom