Edible pot review continues in Colorado; Producers, officials debate rules for foods and packaging

GOLDEN, Colo. - Producers of edible marijuana in Colorado met again Thursday with state regulators and health officials to come up with stricter standards for marijuana-infused foods.

Marijuana-infused foods are booming in the state's new recreational market. Some choose edible pot because of health concerns about smoking the drug. Others are visitors who can't find a hotel that allows toking and are stymied by a law barring public outdoor pot smoking.

From new warning labels on so-called "edibles" to requiring pot sellers to verbally warn consumers not to eat too much pot, the group is working in advance of a bill expected to be signed into law next week. The new law will require edible marijuana to be stamped or marked to state potency and that it is not for children.

The Department of Revenue, which is the state's marijuana regulator, suggested a new guideline on how marijuana is packaged.

-- Current regulations ---

Colorado already requires edible pot sold on the recreational market to come in serving sizes of 10 milligrams of marijuana's psychoactive chemical -- THC -- with a maximum of 10 servings per package. But state lawmakers say the serving sizes can be confusing, especially for novice pot users.

Exact comparisons are tricky because marijuana varies widely in potency and quality, but 10mg of THC is considered roughly equivalent to the amount in a medium-sized joint.

Edibles must be sold in opaque, childproof containers that explicitly warn the product contains marijuana. Colorado also bans retailers from adding concentrated pot to a premade food item, such as injecting cannabis oil into a branded candy bar, though the move is common among home cooks.

"I think this is a decent compromise," said Rachel O'Brian, representing SMART Colorado, a group that fears legal marijuana is too accessible to children.

But some industry representatives argued the individual wrappings would be expensive and hard to apply to infused products like sodas and granola. Edible marijuana producers say they'd rather see products scored or marked, as in a break-apart chocolate bar, and not required to come individually wrapped.

"The cost of edibles on the marketplace will be much higher," said Julie Berliner, owner of Sweet Grass Kitchens, which makes marijuana-infused cookies.

Marijuana producers suggested the main response should be greater education. Berliner proposed a color-coded warning card telling consumers they should wait two hours for edible marijuana to take effect. The labels would also borrow from ski-slope skill warnings, using green, blue and black labels to signify a product's potency.

The edible marijuana law would require new labeling standards by 2016.

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