Colorado bans marijuana products shaped to entice children

To save children from an early exposure to medical marijuana, Colorado recently banned the production and sale of pot-infused edibles that resemble the form of a human, animal or a fruit. The move comes years after the state decriminalized recreational marijuana in 2012, inadvertently making it available to the unwanted consumers – children and teens – as the edible pot was gradually available in attractive shapes and colors in forms like chocolates, brownies, pizzas and gummy bears.

Though these products were meant only for adults, the easy availability and enticing appearance led to illegal consumption by the younger ones, resulting in a rise in their emergency room (ER) visits. To prevent children’s exposure to marijuana-infused candies and food, the Colorado Senate prohibited marijuana products shaped liked gummy bears, humans or fruits. The House Bill 16-1436 came into effect on Oct. 1, 2017.

Stricter regulations

In addition to the restrictions on certain shapes, the law also calls for stricter guidelines for packaging marijuana products. Now, all pot food packaging will use at least a 10-point font size for their labelling. Further, the potency of the product will be displayed in a font, at least 2 sizes bigger than the regular text, bold, highlighted with a bright color, or framed in a square or a circle.

Mike Hartman, director of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, said that these regulations have been implemented keeping public safety in mind. Adults should be aware of the potency of the product they are purchasing. Further, marijuana products should be designed in such a manner that they do not lure children. “This is an important step in maximizing the State’s public health and safety by keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors and raising consumer awareness,” he said.

Ban approved in 2016

Colorado lawmakers had approved the ban on certain shapes in 2016. At one of the hearings, they were shown packages of marijuana-infused candies and regular toffies. They were unable to differentiate between the candies, prompting the lawmakers to consider the ban on certain shapes. “We need to take some action here and make sure these products are not to be mistaken, particularly by anyone under the age of 21,” Hartman said.

While the sellers now can’t sell the banned shapes, the manufacturers had over a year of notice to prepare and change their product line. “The same rules that apply to alcohol or prescription medication have to apply to marijuana,” said Tim Cullen, CEO of a Denver dispensary, approving the ban.

Ban by other states

With as many as 29 states and the District of Columbia legalizing medical marijuana and eight states legalizing recreational marijuana, there is an urgent need to take steps to protect children from accidental exposure to it. Realizing this, states like California, New York and Washington have also implemented similar restrictions on shapes.

“A lot of these products look exactly like the products that children would consume. If we all agree that cannabis products should be kept out of the hands of children, I think it’s at least somewhat logical to prohibit products that look exactly like candies or things that would be appealing to kids,” said Alison Malsbury, an attorney and member of Carna Law Group.

Seeking help for marijuana addiction

Illegal under the federal law, marijuana is a highly addictive substance. That is the reason, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule I drug. Under the influence of marijuana, an individual may get involved in non-serious, non-violent drug-related offenses.

Sovereign Health is not only a leading provider of addiction treatment in the U.S., but it also believes that a sufferer needs treatment and care rather than punishment if he/she is involved in an offense under the influence of a substance. Sovereign’s Court Services division helps such people with effective legal support. We do not offer legal counsel or representation, but we do accompany our patients to court and try to get settlement rather than incarceration. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-433-7698 for any assistance.

October 9, 2017

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