Rob Corry, one of Colorado’s most prominent medical marijuana attorneys, says the new regulatory system that goes into effect on July 1 holds some inherent advantages for “edibles,” or marijuana-infused products.
After all, it’s not just about the brownies any more. One can now easily find marijuana-infused lollipops, chews, drinks, pills — even medicated olive oils and balms.
Corry says there was an intentional effort in the 2010 legislation HB 1284 to give edibles an advantage over marijuana that is smoked or vaporized, in part because of a perception that it is safer for patients.
It’s also a bit more politically palatable.
“My mother is way more likely to try a brownie than smoke a bowl,” Corry says.
But Boulder medical marijuana attorney Jeff Gard rightly points out that infused products do not have the same immediate effect that accompanies smoking the medicine, because it has to be ingested and digested. In addition, he says, the potency of edibles varies widely.
“It either doesn’t work or your legs don’t work,” Gard says.
Corry acknowledges that edibles are “uneven,” until you find a type you like and get used to it.
Gard counters that HB 1043, the medical marijuana “clean-up bill” passed by the legislature this spring, contains additional regulation of infused products, not to mention HB 1250, which was originally aimed at banning edibles.
“Some kid got a hold of a parent’s brownie and all hell broke loose,” Gard says.
In the end, the version of HB 1250 that passed simply requires edibles to be packaged in a way that is “significantly difficult” for children under the age of 5 to open and that hides the product.
Dan Hartman, director of the state’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, describes it as making sure “a cookie is not out there looking like a cookie.”
Corry says he’s not opposed to HB 1250, although it will require providers to take on extra costs that will be passed on to patients.
Hartman says he doesn’t see much difference in the way edibles and the smoked product are regulated.
“We’re certainly not treating them any differently,” he says.
And Gard estimates that edibles make up only between 4 percent and 16 percent of his clients’ business.
“Infused products are not the future of this industry,” he says.