Star Barz, from Medicine Man Productions Corp., is one of the 10 popular edible brands picked by The Denver Post to be tested for potency at state-licensed cannabis testing laboratory, Steep Hill Labs. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

Editorial: Get the potency right on marijuana edible labels

The founder of the annual 4/20 rally in Civic Center told a Denver Post reporter last weekend that his “favorite aspect of these events is that people can come together and agree that the government is still oppressive.”

Sorry, Miguel Lopez. The word “oppressive” has an array of meanings, but none fits the indulgent toleration of marijuana in Denver.

Rather than complain about mythical oppression, maybe pot users should worry about problems in the industry itself. Such as the fact that marijuana manufacturers continue to severely mismeasure their products’ potency and falsely advertise, according to a recent report by The Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca.

Not only does this practice amount to consumer fraud, but it lulls customers into a false understanding that could be potentially hazardous to their health.

Lawmakers and regulators were right to demand that labels on edible marijuana packages remind customers that a single dose is 10 milligrams and that it can take up to two hours to feel the effects.

But it is false advertising if the products are not what they say they are. Baca’s investigation found that potency claims are better than they were a year ago but still far from perfect.

A popular edible tested by The Post was found to be nearly 30 percent lower in potency than advertised. Another was nearly 20 percent lower.

Marijuana advocates regularly invoke the mantra that pot should be treated like alcohol, but they turn a blind eye to the potency problem. Consumers would not accept misleading labels about alcohol potency, nor should they about marijuana.

If the true amount of the drug varies widely from package to package with the same potency label, consumers could have an extremely unpleasant experience. There have been deaths linked to misuse of edibles, which is why manufacturers need to get this right.

In a related matter, Senate Bill 260 would require potency testing for medical pot, similar to what is mandated for retail products. Patients deserve to know and trust what is in the medicinal pot they are taking and the state should set standards for testing.

The pot industry has been given an incredible gift with legalization. Now, it needs to upgrade its quality control and standardize what it sells.

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