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Colorado Allows Edibles As Long As They Don't Look Like Real Food

The ruling is a major blow to the marijuana industry.

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Pot brownies are legal in Colorado as long as they don't look like actual brownies. The Associated Press reports that lawmakers voted unanimously against a bill that would loosen the requirements on what can be sold as an edible, or food item infused with marijuana. The rejection of this bill means that all marijuana-infused foods including cookies, drinks, and candy "must have a distinct look" by 2016. It's not just the packaging that has to make it obvious that the item contains weed, but the item itself must demonstrate it. For example, pot brownies could be shaped like a marijuana leaf to meet the requirements.

All marijuana-infused foods including cookies, drinks, and candy "must have a distinct look" by 2016.

Lawmakers, health advocates, and parents are concerned that without a distinct look, people — especially children — will inject the drug-laced items accidentally. Even some teens are in favor of stricter labeling, telling the AP that their classmates have handed out edibles in school with "adults in the room [completely] unaware the kids were eating pot."

So, starting next year, all edibles sold in Colorado must be "shaped, stamped, colored or otherwise marked, when practicable, with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children."

The ruling has upset the marijuana industry and its supporters, however. They believe this requirement is a case of "micromanagement" because "it can't easily be applied to all foods." Senator Owen Hill tells the AP, "How [can] we distinguish liquids versus granolas versus candies versus cookies versus brownies?" It may be easy to cut brownies into a marijuana leaf shape, but how does one make something like weed-infused tomato sauce look distinct beyond the packaging? Bob Eschino — an edibles producer — tells the the Denver Post that "there's no clear, realistic way to mark every product," and that having to do so is "expensive and impractical."

How does one make something like weed-infused tomato sauce look distinct beyond the packaging?

Colorado has had a tumultuous relationship with edibles since it became the first state to legalize weed in 2012. While the industry is lucrative — nearly 5 million edibles were sold across the state last year — many believe they are dangerous. Last October, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environments announced that it wanted to ban almost all edibles. The agency was upset over the lack of regulation of the edibles industry and claims that this has resulted in overdoses.

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