With Colorado’s groundbreaking decision to legalize marijuana came a wave of unintended consequences, namely an increase in the number of children who presented in emergency rooms with marijuana-related health concerns.
On Oct. 30, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) took a step forward in addressing this issue by releasing new regulations regarding medical and recreational marijuana.
As the leader of an organization dedicated to the safety and health of children, I am particularly interested in the regulations regarding the labeling and packaging of edibles. By the nature of how edibles are marketed, they are more appealing to children. And, with more than 300 different marijuana-infused edibles on the market, and sales of more than 4.8 million edible products in 2014 alone, we need a clear way for parents, caregivers, teachers, law enforcement and children themselves to identify these products and prevent unintentional ingestion.
The new rules contain promising provisions to keep our children safe. By October 2016, edibles must be packaged in child-resistant packaging, and will include an easily identifiable Universal Symbol and warning to “keep out of the reach of children.”
We appreciate the work of MED as they prioritized the safety and protection of the public while considering the business interests of the marijuana industry. This is a difficult path and is complicated further by the fact that other states are watching Colorado’s every move in this area.
We won’t know how effective these new provisions will be until after they are implemented next year, but we are encouraged by the work of our policy makers in taking a positive step forward.
John Faught is President & CEO of The Kempe Foundation