How Colorado’s Edible Pot Market Went From Public Enemy to Public Health Leader

Article by Laura Kane, Canadian Press via Ottawa Citizen

How Colorado's edible pot market went from public enemy to public health leader. Thomas Slone, kitchen supervisor, left and kitchen associate Jamie Johnson, work on infusing candy with marijuana extract at the AmeriCanna Edibles facility

A tray of tempting pastel-coloured candies sits on a countertop inside AmeriCanna’s production facility. Although shaped like pot leaves and stamped with Colorado’s universal symbol for the mind-altering ingredient in cannabis – a diamond containing the letters “THC” – the gummies would only provide a sugar high at this point.

Working with precision and speed, the kitchen supervisor uses a device to soak each candy with marijuana extract, so each piece contains exactly 10 milligrams of THC, a single dose under the state’s regulations.

The entire process takes seconds, but it represents the culmination of a long regulatory journey for Colorado’s edible marijuana industry – one that AmeriCanna owner Dan Anglin is urging Canada to learn from.

“I’ve heard it all. I know what they’re going to say before they say it. ‘What about kids who are at a party and somebody gives them weed candy?’ OK, well, if you create a symbol like Colorado did … it gives them an opportunity to educate the public,” said Anglin.

“It’s very easy to have a government commercial that says, ‘Here’s what you’re looking for, mom and dad, when you go through your teenager’s backpack.’ Or, ‘Are you at a party? Did somebody hand you something? Well, if it has this (symbol) on it, then that’s drugs.’ ”

Although many might assume inhaling hot smoke into your lungs would be the greater public health concern than marijuana candies, it was the edible industry that caused the greatest amount of debate after Colorado legalized pot in 2012. But today the state is a leader in packaging and dosage rules, and officials and businesses are urging Canada to take notes.

The Canadian government has said when marijuana becomes legal on July 1, 2018, sales will entail only fresh and dried cannabis, oils and seeds and plants for cultivation. Sales of edibles will come later, once regulations for production and sale can be developed.

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