Edible Labeling Called into Question After Dowd Overdose
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s unfortunate overdose on a pot chocolate bar drew national attention to the issue of edible labeling this week. During her recent visit to Colorado, Dowd consumed almost an entire pot candy bar, which was designed to be taken in 16 separate doses. She describes in her column how it left her curled up in a paranoid and hallucinatory state for eight hours. She also complained that the dosage was not clear on the label.
More Stringent Labeling Laws on Their Way in Colorado
New regulatory laws recently signed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are expected to bring more stringent packaging requirements to cannabis edibles and concentrates.
A task force will be formed to design through this new Colorado edible regulation to design packaging and labeling that clearly distinguishes pot edibles from regular foods. The new law also outlaws retail edibles manufacturers from producing edible products that can be confused for trademarked regular food products or food products marketed to children.
The new concentrates law in Colorado addresses the concern some lawmakers had that the weight limit on how much an adult can purchase at a retail store — 1 ounce for Colorado residents and 1/4 ounce for non-residents — did not distinguish between flowers, concentrates, or edibles. The new law authorizes a scientific study to guide the Colorado state licensing authority in establishing the equivalency of one ounce of pot in retail products, such as hash oil. Once that equivalency is established through the study, products like hash candies will count for more than their actual weight when calculating how much cannabis a buyer can purchase.
Voters Ban Most Outdoor Cultivation in California’s Lake County
Lake County Voters approved Measure N on Tuesday, which will ban most outdoor marijuana cultivation throughout the county. The Lake County Board of Supervisors passed the restrictive ordinance last December, but a community group opposing the ordinance gathered enough signatures to force the board to either revoke the ordinance or place it on the June ballot, which is what they did.
The ordinance bans outdoor cultivation within community growth boundaries, limits indoor grows to 100 square feet or less, and allows limited outdoor cultivation on parcels one acre or larger that are outside of the community growth boundaries. Collective or cooperative organizations will be allowed to grow as many as 48 mature plants if the property is at least 20 acres and located on an “A” agriculture zoned property.
Another California county, Tulare, is drafting an ordinance to ban any cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county.
Legislation Illinois for Allowing Prescriptions for Minors with Seizures
The Illinois Senate approved legislation on Friday that would expand Illinois’ medical marijuana law to allow prescription cards for minors with epilepsy or chronic seizures. The Illinois House already approved the bill, and it now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk for a final decision.
CBD Oil Legalization Making Headway in Several States
Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad signed a limited CBD medical marijuana bill last Friday. The legislation will allow people suffering seizure disorders to use high-CBD cannabis oil with a neurologist’s recommendation.
A similar bill was signed into law by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on Tuesday. The new law will allow for children with epilepsy to use high-CBD cannabis oil. The law also calls for the creation of a committee to study the feasibility of growing the cannabis in South Carolina, as well as a clinical trial at the Medical University of South Carolina.
In New York this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a deal with GQ Pharmaceuticals to do a trial of its cannabis-derived high-CBD seizure drug, Epidiolex. The clinical trial with GW Pharmaceuticals still needs approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
But medical marijuana advocates said the plan is too limited and will take too long. Advocates have suggested Cuomo should be backing the current efforts to pass a full-blown medical marijuana bill instead of trying to blunt efforts to pass it by enacting half-measures.
This Tuesday, two key legislators met to seek a compromise on medical marijuana. Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) met in an effort to find a compromise between their two bills that could lead to passage of a bill before the session ends in two weeks. The Assembly has already approved Gottfried’s bill, but the Senate has yet to act on Savino’s.