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DENVER -- Accidentally overdosing on marijuana-infused candies, cookies and brownies may get harder under new rules being considered by Colorado.
State marijuana enforcers have proposed making it easier for "edibles" buyers to tell exactly how much pot is in each portion of infused foods, according to proposed regulations that have not yet been made public. The Associated Press first reported the details of the proposal on Thursday evening, and USA TODAY has confirmed them with industry sources.
The rules apply only to recreational, not medical, marijuana products, and are aimed at reducing incidents of the kind related by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who said she hallucinated that she had died after eating too much of a pot-infused candy bar.
While a "serving" of pot is 10 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly how much is in a cookie or brownie. Many products contain 100 mg of THC, but that can be split among 10 mints or a single candy bar or cookie. That means clerks at pot shops must explain to buyers, especially first-timers, that they may need to break a normal sized-cookie into multiple pieces so as to not overdose.
The new regulations, which have been under consideration for several months, would make it easier to portion out serving sizes, or simply require cookies to contain no more than 10 mg of THC each.
Some edibles manufacturers are already moving in that direction after seeing high demand for lower-dose products. Dixie Elixrs, one of the best-known makers of edibles, in June began offering a soda containing just 5 mg of THC. The company also makes 40 and 75 mg sodas, but those were always intended for sharing, said company spokesman Joe Hodas.
He said edibles manufacturers understand that some people have been consuming far more marijuana than they intend, especially tourists, who are buying up to 90 percent of the recreational marijuana in Colorado's ski towns, according to a state study. Medical marijuana users, who tend to be more experienced users, prefer a high-dose product, Hodas said.
"Some people like drinking beer and some people like 151 rum �. For all those reasons, lower-dose products make sense," he said. "There's a definitely a subset of customers who want that � and I do believe that in many ways it's the right thing to do."
The Colorado proposal brings the state in line with regulations already in effect in Washington, the only other state to permit recreational marijuana sales.