New rules go into effect to make Colorado pot edibles safer

DENVER -- Colorado’s new rules for marijuana edibles kicked in Sunday, no longer allowing them to be shaped like fruits, animals or other things that can be confused for candies.

"We never want to make any products that would be appealing for a kid to take or be able to be confused for a child to take," said Chad Drew, sales manager of Colorado Harvest Company that operates several dispensaries.

The new rules also require more prominent and easier to understand potency levels of psycho-active THC in edible products, which has sometimes led to overdosing in adults and hospitalization of children.

The rules come after more than a year of fine-tuning Colorado’s leading role in shaping state legalized marijuana nationwide.

“Colorado's always provided a blueprint for the rest of the nation to follow so to regulate our edibles is a very important step," Drew said.

The cannabis labeling requires easier to read displays of THC dosages after improvements in childproof packaging, and stricter THC and chemical testing.

"It's just another step in the long path of trying to make sure that the adult use of cannabis is properly regulated,” Drew said.

"Try a little by little and wait," Danielle Espinel of CannaLatino said she tells her clients.

Her group educates users about consuming edibles and protecting children.

"We have to understand the different consumptions on cannabis. It makes different reactions in people the edibles have a very strong reaction and have a long lasting of time," Espinel said.

The new regulations will allow dispensaries to grandfather in some of their inventory, but manufacturers still will have to get rid of millions of dollars in product ready for sale.

"A lot of the products that don't fit the mold will be destroyed unless they're donated to a nonprofit like Grow for Vets," a group that provides free cannabis care for disabled veterans, Drew said.

Colorado cannabis industry activists will continue to focus on improvements to protect public health and safety.

This is especially true in the wake of criticism by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted at big changes in federal handling of state-legalized marijuana.