Regulations for Colorado's medical marijuana edibles are separate from what applies for recreational products. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

Cannabist Q&A: Medical edibles vs. rec; tax plans; Amsterdam-esque tourism

Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 64-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
I’ve noticed a lot of new regulations for edibles recently. Most of the articles only refer to recreational stores. Do these new regulations — the 100mg per unit limit and testing for potency — have any effect on medical marijuana? –Edibles Enthusiast in Edgewater

Hey, Edibles!
Edible companies have been the focus of recent news stories because the potency testing requirement for all recreational edibles started on May 1. The potency testing regulations for the smokable flowers will begin on June 1.

Potency testing measures the amount or percentage of THC and a handful of other cannabinoids.

Colorado’s medical marijuana regulations remain separate from the recreational system. Marijuana-infused products (MIPs) that are designated for medical sales are under different regulations, so the limits you are reading about for recreational edibles do not apply.

I asked marijuana attorney Warren Edson for a quick confirmation. He says the 100 mg limit is only for recreational edibles and not for medical edibles. Not that it makes sense, quips Warren, but recreational products are required to test and medical products are not. People from out of state, Warren adds, cannot buy medical marijuana products, only recreational. (Full disclosure: I recently started working for testing lab Steep Hill Halent of Colorado.) XO

How much is enough? The effects of edibles are different for everybody. Here are eight tips for getting the right dose

Hey, Cannabist!
I was wanting to know some facts as to where the tax revenue is going. The retail and medical sales for this year, and how the revenue is impacting communities. –Tennyson St. Tax Type

Hey, Tennyson Tax Type!
Here’s a three-part answer: First, lawmakers only recently decided where the tax money is going. They also determined that the spending plan should be based only on collected medical marijuana taxes and fees. According to an Associated Press report, the total spending plan approved was $33 million, with most of the money slated for child drug-use prevention. Some of the funds will go for more school nurses and public education on responsible marijuana use.

Second, The Department of Revenue recently released revenue totals for marijuana sales and fees for the first three months of 2014. From January to March, the sales for recreational marijuana totaled approximately $47 million, about $14 million in both January and February and $19 million in March.  Recreational marijuana taxes totaled $7.3 million. Add the medical marijuana taxes and licensing fees and that brings the total tax revenue to about $12.6 million.

Third, the revenue proceeds are primarily impacting children, schools and families with drug education and outreach. As part of the 2013 voter-approved tax measures, the first $40 million generated by the state excise tax will go toward school construction. Lawmakers are clearly concerned about the impact of legalization on children because so much of the revenue money is going toward prevention and education.  An edibles-company colleague of mine jokes about her revenue budget idea to improve roads and infrastructure. She calls it “pot for potholes.” XO

How do you consume your cannabis? Product reviews from Firefly, Raw papers, O.penVape, Sasquatch Glass and more. Want your gear reviewed? Submit your glass, vapes and more:

Hey, Cannabist!
I like the reviews, but I’m having difficulty identifying recreational cannabis shops that sell small assortment packs. I’m from Pennsylvania, and take my 10-day summer vacation to Amsterdam every couple of years. I would buy the guides, Cannabis Connections by Wernard Bruining or The Mellow Pages by Kip. The guidebooks pointed out coffeeshops, like Any Day, where tourists could buy small amounts, as little as half a gram. Where are Colorado shops allowed to display images of their cannabis products such as the menus of Nol van Schaik’s coffeeshops in Haarlem, Netherlands? Even if the smallest amount listed for sale was a gram, some places would sell a half a gram. Tourists who are not planning on taking anything out of the state and are not planning on being high 24/7 would prefer to buy a prepackaged assortment of 4 half grams of sativas, indicas and hybrids, in my opinion. –Pass the Pennsylvania Dutchie

Hey, Pass the Dutchie!
I like the Amsterdam history lesson that came with your question. It sounds like you are an experienced cannabis tourist looking for some familiarity. Colorado legalization is broadly different from Amsterdam’s style of legalization (where it’s half-legal and becoming more restrictive), as you might know already.

For a guidebook, you can find information and menus online by linking to marijuana centers’ websites from The Cannabist map, or try Weedmaps. Thanks for checking our strain reviews (which include purchase info) and shop reviews, at least you have an idea of what’s available in the Denver area. Locally published cannabis magazines, like The Hemp Connoisseur are also online and available for free in the lobby at most marijuana centers. On Weedmaps, I searched for tourist specials or sampler packages and did not find anything. The menus list the variety of strains and products and do not mention purchase minimums.

For purchasing, the lowest price on marijuana center menus is the per-gram price. Most centers weigh out each customer’s order, so it is possible to request less than a gram at the counter. Pre-rolled joints could be another option to consider. Just so you are aware, a few centers sell only pre-measured packages, so be on the lookout for those. As always, making a few calls ahead of time can save some aggravation.

Possibly by discussing your cannabis tourist request here,  someone at a marijuana center will see the marketing potential and start offering and advertising tourist sampler packages. It’s only the begining of recreational sales, the market is still developing. XO

Visiting Colorado? Places to stay: Coloradans can promote their pot-friendly vacation rentals on AirTHC