New consumers in Colorado’s recreational cannabis marketplace are not necessarily marijuana savvy. For example, take NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd who just last month ate an infused candy bar and convinced herself she had died within the confines of her Denver hotel room. This fear of the edible cannabis market and the intense high one can feel when consuming cannabis has resulted in a push for Colorado edible companies to create smaller doses. After all, as Vice weed columnist T Kidd said, “who the f* eats a sixth of a cookie?”
In an effort to protect its citizens, particularly its children, Colorado lawmakers have also signed a law into place that will devise a clear packaging system for cannabis edibles. However, if lawmakers in Colorado really wanted to crack down on the potential abuse of marijuana edibles they should consider revising the outright ban on smoking cannabis in public spaces and privately owned businesses.
According to a six-month status report on the state of retail marijuana sales in Colorado, the edibles market represents 40 percent of sales. State representative Jonathan Singer, one of two members of the legislature to publicly support Amendment 64, said work must be done to reign in recreational cannabis edibles as that “element in the industry where all the controversy has derived from.”
AMA Denver Manager Salena Salazar said tourists frequently purchase marijuana-infused edibles because they don’t know where they are allowed to smoke weed. When they do purchase cannabis, they often wonder, “where they can smoke it and be safe,” she says.
To get around the rules limiting on-site consumption, some businesses in Colorado have embraced their status as speakeasy social clubs. These clubs charge a membership fee and allow members to smoke on the premises. Clubs like this are operating within a legal gray area, as they are not technically selling weed, but offering it for free to members who have paid a fee. The Colorado Clean Air Act bans smoking marijuana in “indoor, but public” locations such as bars and restaurants, but does include exceptions for retail tobacco businesses and limousines under public hire.
As shown by a recent raid on one such club however, membership-only spaces to smoke in Colorado remain in peril of law enforcement action against them.
Visitors to the Centennial State eager to sample marijuana likely do not have a smoking device or even know how to roll a joint. Buying a pipe or bong seems wasteful for tourists as they will have to leave the resin-coated pieces behind to safely return home. The majority of hotels ban smoking and collect hefty fees from those caught smoking marijuana in their rooms.
Social clubs in Colorado can stand as models of responsible cannabis consumption. Employees and patrons can help new users learn how to smoke marijuana at a rate that brings them to a comfortable high. Because smoked cannabis has a rapid onset, it is easy to tell when one has smoked enough and to stop smoking. With marijuana edibles, which take time to set in, it’s harder to tell when you’ve overdone it.
To reign in the potential danger of consumers experiencing discomforting highs due to excessive cannabis consumption Colorado and states across the country should allow safe smoking spaces for adults to thrive.
What do you think? Should states allow smoking spaces for adults? Tell us in the comments below.