DENVER — With a spike in the number of children turning up at Children’s Hospital’s emergency room after ingesting marijuana edibles, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper chose the hospital as a backdrop for signing two bills into law Wednesday that attempt to protect children from edibles.
The new law requires state regulators to come up with rules that make edible marijuana products identifiable even when they are out of their packaging.
The state is also likely to adopt a rule mandating that marijuana edibles are manufactured in single-serving portions, so that every individually-wrapped cookie or brownie contains the same amount of concentrated THC.
Another bill signed into law requires the State Licensing Authority to establish a standard amount of retail marijuana product and retail marijuana concentrate that is equivalent to one ounce of retail marijuana. Currently, each retail marijuana store is required to determine equivalency on its own.
Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed Amendment 64 but has directed his administration to implement recreational marijuana from the moment voters approved it, said the new laws “are critical to our ongoing goal of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation and our constant goal of protecting our children.”
The industry, which employs close to 10,000 people and has been mostly cooperative with the state throughout the regulatory process, applauded the new laws.
“As the trailblazing state for this new industry, Colorado has a special responsibility to constantly improve its laws and regulations,” said Christian Sederberg, a founder and partner with the marijuana-policy focused law firm Vicente Sederberg.
“These laws are in that spirit. More importantly, they are the result of a cooperative effort between industry representatives, lawmakers and other stakeholders. That is the kind of approach we need. We are grateful to the legislature for facilitating the process and for passing these sensible bills.”
So far this year, nine children have been admitted to Children’s Hospital after accidental marijuana ingestion. The hospital saw just eight patients for that all of last year.