A selection of marijuana edibles available in Colorado. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

No agreement over how to change Colorado rules on marijuana edibles

Colorado’s first attempt at better regulating edible marijuana products ended in discord Monday when a working group on the issue adjourned without reaching a consensus.

Instead, the working group — which had been meeting for months — decided to submit more than a dozen different and often conflicting ideas for new regulations to the legislature, which will re-argue the issue beginning in January.

“It’s a wide-open game starting Jan. 7, when we get back in session,” state Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, said Monday at the conclusion of the working group’s final meeting.

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During this year’s legislative session, Singer had been one of the sponsors of the bill that prompted the working group. The bill requires the Department of Revenue — the state agency overseeing marijuana businesses — to come up with rules to limit accidental ingestion of marijuana-infused edibles. The rules must be in place by 2016, and they will apply only to edibles sold in recreational marijuana stores. Edibles sold in medical-marijuana dispensaries or made at home will not be subject to the rules.

“I wanted to know the difference between a marijuana cookie and a Chips Ahoy! cookie just by looking at it,” Singer, who sat on the working group, said during Monday’s meeting.

Ideas for how to do that ranged from better labeling of marijuana edibles to requiring all edibles be a certain color or be stamped with a certain symbol to an outright ban on almost all forms of edible marijuana.

But the working group’s meetings typically descended into gridlock, with one group member proposing an idea and another group member arguing it wouldn’t work. Monday’s meeting, which saw a half-dozen new recommendations added to the pile, followed a similar pattern.

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The most prominent suggestion came from the state health department, which suggested that Colorado create a commission to approve marijuana edibles before they are allowed to be sold in stores.

The commission would ensure that edibles are identifiable out of their packaging and not appealing to children, according to the proposal.

“The idea would be to ensure that we’re not putting a noncompliant product in the market,” said the health department’s Jeff Lawrence.

But edibles-makers on the working group quickly denounced the idea. Noting that the health department had previously proposed the edibles ban, members wondered who would sit on the panel and how it would decide what’s appealing to children.

“It just feels like a veiled way to remove products from the marketplace,” said Lindsay Topping of Dixie Elixirs.

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As it adjourned Monday, the working group took no votes on any of the ideas. Instead, the Department of Revenue’s Ron Kammerzell said all of the group’s proposals — as well as all of the group’s written comments either supporting or opposing those proposals — would be included in a report to lawmakers.

“We really want to make sure we have a very thorough and thoughtful record of all the issues that have come up here,” he said.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold

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