In Denver, state regulators continue to consider rules for keeping marijuana edibles clearly labeled. Here's a rundown of what's been going on.
The Marijuana Enforcement Division's (MED) first design for a label on edibles was a red octagon with "THC" in the middle. However, on Aug. 28, Marijuana Business Daily reported that the octagonal logo proposed has been scrapped in favor of a diamond-shaped design. According to several reports, edibles producers believed the original design looked too much like a stop sign, with a Denver Post editorial comparing it to "asking the industry to put a skull and cross bones on items."
If the new design goes into effect unchanged next year, edibles packaging will get the diamond with red ink, and marks directly on the edibles will get the outline.
Since the MED especially wants to make edibles unappealing to children, the current draft of the proposed rules bans edibles from using the word "candy" on any packaging. Also, manufacturers would be banned from buying pre-made candy and applying a medicated coating. According to an Associated Press story, the rule would allow for commercial food products to be included so long as they are unrecognizable and not advertised. So using chopped Snickers bars in infused ice cream would be jim-dandy, but copyright aside, selling it as Snickers ice cream is not.
As the draft is phrased, though, there is a lot of gray area related to what's considered a pre-made product. The AP reported that Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce chairman Dan Anglin has asked for more clarification this way: "Do I have to have chickens out back for the eggs?"
The final public hearing was held on Monday, August 31. Expect the final rules to be released soon.
Smoke 'em if ...
Last year, more college students smoked weed than cigarettes, according to an ongoing study by the University of Michigan titled "Monitoring the Future." But according to a Science20.com analysis of the findings, marijuana use in 2014 actually leveled off after a seven-year rise.
According to the report, 34 percent of college students reported consuming at least once in the last year, slightly lower than in 2013. Twenty-one percent consumed at least once in the previous month, the highest since a 1986 figure of 23 percent. And 5.9 percent consumed almost daily — at least 20 times in the last month, by the study's definition — the highest since 1980, when 7.2 percent reported near-daily smoking.
Interestingly enough, marijuana use was higher across the board for college-aged non-students: 40 percent consumed in the last year, 26 percent in the last month, and 11 percent daily.
All that said, cigarette use among college students has been dropping steadily after peaking around 1999, in all categories. In fact, according to this data, cigarette use among college students is lower than it has been since before 1980, when UM first started collecting data.
New social calendar
On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Campaign for Limited Social Cannabis Use withdrew its proposition for Denver's November ballot, according to a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project. The measure would have allowed certain commercial establishments to allow social cannabis use on-site — you could have considered it a cannabis-club bill, but just for the capital city.
Instead, campaign proponents will be working with Denver city lawmakers to see if they can hammer out a law together.
"This decision ensures we now have the time and ability to include interested stakeholders to reach consensus on this important issue," says Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks. "I am committed to working on a broadly acceptable solution."
Currently, cannabis social clubs, which have a strong presence in Colorado Springs, operate in a legal gray area.
Good news for fans of Mountain High Suckers and Denver dispensary MMJ America: The Cannabist's David Migoya reports that their lozenges and flower tested clean for an unapproved pesticide, Spinosad. It turns out that Mountain High had been using older packaging, printed and purchased when a grower with whom it contracted had sprayed with then-approved Spinosad.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending — none of the product was destroyed, and it will be returned to MMJ America's shelves with corrected packaging.