Health officials in Colorado are calling for what is nearly a full ban on retail marijuana edibles in the state, just 10 months after the first recreational sales of marijuana began.
The Associated Press' Kristen Wyatt first reported Monday on the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's request for a ban on the majority of marijuana-infused food products in the state.
The call for a ban from the state Health Department comes as multiple lawmakers, state marijuana industry representatives and state officials have made recommendations to be included in a Colorado House bill that seeks additional restrictions on the sale of edible marijuana products, all of which will be discussed in a working group Monday.
"Prohibit the production of retail edible marijuana products other than a simple lozenge/hard candy or tinctures that are plainly labeled using universal symbol(s) and that users can add to their products at home," Colorado Health Department officials wrote in their recommendation, obtained by The Huffington Post. "Hard candy/lozenges would be manufactured in single 10 mg doses/lozenges and tinctures would be produced and labeled with dosing instructions, such as two drops equals 10 mg."
When reached for comment by The Huffington Post, Health Deputy Director of Communications Jan Stapleman said the agency will not be making a statement about the department's recommendations for the bill until after Monday's working group meeting ends.
The House bill's language requires that a working group be assembled before the bill's passage to discuss concerns, recommendations and requests regarding marijuana edibles in the state. The working group will not draft rules or conduct rule-making. Instead, it will produce a report with the recommendations and provide that to the state legislature so lawmakers can best understand the issues and range of available recommendations.
The Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division, which oversees the state's marijuana industry including sales of edibles, will make the final rules based on the recommendations from the working group and state lawmakers after the 2015 legislative session.
"It is important to note that we will be collecting both supportive and dissenting opinions for each recommendation during the working group process and these opinions will be included in the Division's report to the general assembly," Natriece Bryant, communications specialist at Colorado's Department of Revenue, told HuffPost. "The Division views its primary role as a facilitator to the working group process and as drafter of the final report, it is our role, at this juncture, to ensure that all of the underlying issues and potential recommendations are identified, considered and included in the report.
Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that banning marijuana edibles is not what Colorado voters wanted when they legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
"Colorado voters chose to end marijuana prohibition because they wanted to see marijuana controlled," Tvert said. "Banning edible products is the quickest way to lose all control over them. These products will continue to be in high demand, but banning them will ensure they are not properly labeled, packaged, or subject to health and safety standards. The goal should be to develop effective regulations and educate consumers, not remove all regulations and keep consumers in the dark."
Marijuana edibles -- food and beverage products that are infused with compounds derived from marijuana, such as THC or CBD -- in Colorado have been under fire following two high-profile deaths that were possibly connected to edible marijuana. In response, state lawmakers have proposed new regulations that would restrict serving sizes of edibles to 10 milligrams of THC -- about the amount in a medium-sized joint -- down from 100 milligrams, require clearer labeling on products and create more safeguards to ensure children can't accidentally get their hands on the cannabis-infused foods.