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Liability in Marijuana Edibles – Why Clear Labeling is Crucial

Published: April 20, 2015 524 3:52 pm

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Liability in Marijuana Edibles - Why Clear Labeling is CrucialWhile at a Colorado ski resort, a young man from Oklahoma aimed a gun at his head and fatally shot himself after consuming a significant amount of edibles infused with marijuana. The young man, Luke Goodman, is one of several people whose death appears to be linked to legal, edible marijuana products. Last March, a Wyoming college student leapt from the balcony in his Denver hotel after he consumed five to six times the “recommended” amounts of cookies infused with cannabis. According to the medical examiner, a contributing factor in the young man’s death was marijuana intoxication. In April, 2014, a Denver man fatally shot his wife. The woman was on the line with an emergency dispatcher, telling the dispatcher that her husband was suffering hallucinations and frightening their children.  The Denver police executed a search warrant for the couple’s home and found candy infused with marijuana. While this may have been a contributing fact in the murder, police believe the husband was also under the influence of prescription painkillers.

Marijuana Labeling in the State of Colorado

There are many more instances in which a person ate too much of a marijuana-laced cookie, cake, brownie or candy with adverse consequences. The Colorado State Senate currently has packaging requirements for edible marijuana items, and a bill which would have repealed those requirements was recently unanimously voted down. The requirements for edible marijuana substances are that they be clearly identifiable with a standard symbol. What the labels do not state is how much marijuana is in the items and how much is “too much.”

Tighter Labeling Laws to Protect Children?

Rob MacCoun and Michelle Mello, both Stanford Law Professors believe marijuana edibles look so much like regular snacks, that tighter regulations are necessary to protect children. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, MacCoun and Mello write that one of the most notable features in states which have legalized retail sales of marijuana is the popularity of edible products. Currently, marijuana edibles are not labeled clearly enough to discourage children from seeing them as normal candy or cookies, leading to the potential for an overdose. Both Colorado and Washington require child-resistant packaging and a warning which states “keep out of reach of children.” The labeling does indicate a “standard serving size,” however there are no warnings indicating that ingested marijuana has different effects from smoked marijuana. Many of the marijuana edibles look like Hershey bars, and the drinks resemble regular sodas. Both the edibles and the drinks can contain four or more times the THC levels considered to be “safe.”

Read More: Will Marijuana Make Colorado Roads More Dangerous

Large doses of THC can produce anxiety attacks and psychotic symptoms in some people when ingested rather than smoked. A recent study noted an increase in ER visits by Colorado children which are associated with marijuana ingestion. MacCoun and Mello believe the child-resistant packaging currently in place is insufficient for older children and suggest that THC doses and recommended serving sizes become a legally required component of marijuana edibles. Further, they recommend warning labels, which clearly state the risks of over-intoxication on edibles and that manufactures ensure marijuana edibles do not resemble familiar non-THC sweets.

A Push to Ban All Marijuana Edibles?

In an effort to increase liability in marijuana edibles, Jeff Lawrence, a Colorado health official, wants to ban many of the currently sold edible marijuana treats such as brownies, cookies and most candies. Lawrence recommends marijuana edibles be limited to liquid drops and lozenges. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the Colorado Dept. of Revenue which oversees sales of marijuana in the state.

Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Attorneys

The Colorado Personal Injury Attorneys at the Gold Law FirmIf you have been injured after consuming marijuana edibles, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver personal injury attorney immediately. Our attorneys have experience representing victims of marijuana edibles. Contact Gregory A. Gold of the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653. We are ready to help you and your family through this difficult time. Call us today to learn more about all of your legal options.