Colorado lawmakers target edible pot in fruit, animal shapes
DENVER (AP) — Pot-infused lemon drops and other marijuana edibles that resemble fruits could be coming off Colorado shelves, the latest front in a battle by lawmakers to eradicate retail pot products that could appeal to kids.
The bill up for its first hearing in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday also would ban infused edibles shaped like animals or people. Edible pot makers already are preparing for new regulations starting this fall that will require each piece of food to carry a symbol with the letters THC, marijuana's intoxicating chemical.
Marijuana manufacturers say the latest measure goes too far.
"It could shut down the majority of the edibles industry in Colorado," said Tyler Henson, head of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
Its members have agreed to stop making candies that resemble animals or people but oppose the bill because it includes a ban on any candies that "resemble the form" of fruit.
The measure's supporters, including the Democratic governor, say marijuana candies send a dangerous message to kids.
"Back in the day, candy cigarettes desensitized kids to the dangers of tobacco — and today, pot-infused gummy bears send the wrong message to our kids about marijuana," Gov. John Hickenlooper told lawmakers in a January speech.
Many of the 24 states and Washington, D.C., allowing marijuana for medical or recreational use do not allow the sale of edible marijuana.
In Colorado, where the state constitution authorizes marijuana in any form, pot regulators have been ratcheting up limits on edible marijuana ever since recreational pot became legal in 2012.
First, lawmakers limited the potency of serving sizes, then required each serving size to be individually wrapped because some consumers were eating too many servings.
A Wyoming college student fell to his death from a Denver hotel balcony in 2014 after eating six servings of marijuana in a cookie. The same year, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote of becoming sick after eating too much pot.
The ban on certain shapes of edible marijuana comes late in Colorado's lawmaking session, which concludes next month. The bill's chances are not clear: It has a long list of bipartisan sponsors in the Democratic-controlled House but only one sponsor in the Republican Senate.
A House committee vote on the measure was expected late Tuesday afternoon.
House Bill 1436: http://goo.gl/v7FKhR .