Pot brownies have been the punchline of countless stoner jokes. But they’re no laughing matter in Colorado.
Last month, a 19-year-old college student from Wyoming fell to his death after eating marijuana-laced cookies and jumping off the hotel he was staying at. The student, Levy Thamba, was visiting Denver with friends to try out Colorado’s marijuana offerings. Thamba’s death was the first one the Denver coroner’s office categorized as caused by marijuana edible intoxication.
It’s not just college students who are at risk of intoxication by ingesting dangerous edibles. One Colorado study from last year found a marked uptick in the number of young children who received medical treatment after accidentally eating marijuana-laced treats.
That’s why the Colorado Legislature is working to impose stricter standards on the marijuana edibles that are sold in dispensaries across the state. On Wednesday, the state House voted unanimously to study whether edibles stamped with child warnings and given uniform colors or shapes made a difference in illegal consumption. Edibles are already required to be sold in opaque, childproof packaging with a warning that the food contains marijuana.
In January, Colorado became the first state in the country to allow persons 21 and older to buy marijuana from state dispensaries for recreational use. Edibles make up 20 to 40 percent of marijuana sales in the state. As the law currently stands, the individually packaged edibles that dispensaries sell can contain up to 10 times the “recommended serving” of THC to get intoxicated.
It’s more difficult to regulate edibles for THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — than in the marijuana buds that dispensaries sell.
It’s also harder to self-regulate your intake, since THC can be much more concentrated in one pot brownie compared to smoking a joint. Unlike smoking marijuana, which takes effect almost immediately, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for edible marijuana to kick in. If users eat too much of an edible, too quickly, they can easily overindulge.
Colorado residents are experimenting — in both the personal and legal sense. The state, along with Washington, is a testing ground to see whether marijuana legalization will be feasible in other parts of the country. States like Arizona and Alaska, along with the District of Columbia, are considering laws to legalize recreational marijuana.
If more states follow Colorado’s lead, they’ll be able to learn from its mistakes.
- 1 Only the Margin Seems in Doubt in the Presidential Race
- 2 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 3 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 4 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
- 5 Comparing the 2016 House Map to 2008
What We're Following See More »
The protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline turned violent overnight as the police and National Guard sought to remove the protesters, surrounding them with assault vehicles and officers in riot gear. The law enforcement officers used pepper spray and fired bean bags for more than six hours. In response, the protesters "lit debris on fire and threw Molotov cocktails in retreat." One woman pulled out a gun and fired at officers, narrowly missing before being arrested. The protesters claim the pipeline would be constructed on land belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The House has scheduled leadership votes for Nov. 15, the day after members return from their election recess. "Since mid-September, members of the House Freedom Caucus have weighed whether they should ask leadership to push back the elections so they can see how House Speaker Paul Ryan performs at the end of the year," but leaders don't seem inclined to grant their request.
Gross domestic product "expanded at a 2.9% annual clip from July through September. That’s a marked improvement from the first half of the year when the U.S. grew just barely over 1%." The robust numbers make it more likely that the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates at its next meeting.
"A federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The Bundy brothers and occupiers Jeff Banta and David Fry also were found not guilty of having guns in a federal facility." In a strange "coda" to the decision, Bundy's attorney Marcus Mumford was tackled and tasered by marshals in the courtroom as he argued that Bundy should be free to go.
Hillary Clinton is eyeing Vice President Joe Biden to be her secretary of state, and her campaign is trying to figure out the best way to broach the idea with Biden. Biden has a lifetime of foreign policy experience, serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; he can also put eight years as vice president on his foreign policy resume. Biden has previously stated that he would not work in a Clinton administration, so it might be a tough sell for the Clinton camp.