Colorado is certainly leading the charge when it comes to forward-thinking and workable marijuana legislation. It’s borderline impossible to get in any trouble whatsoever for carrying, using or even growing pot in the state right now – unless you go beyond sensible limitations, of course. Which is all great news and a good example for other regions, but a new movement from the depths of Smart Colorado has left a million and one pot smokers sighing and scratching their heads in befuddlement.
Basically, if House Bill 1261 was to be enacted, it would mean that cannabis and cannabis products in general would be capped in terms of THC potency. Specifically, a limit would be set between 15% and 16%, outside which any cannabis products would be considered illegal. The campaign has apparently been sparked by growing concern over the potential for kids to find themselves with super-strong cannabis candy in their hands.
The only problem being that even with a 16% cap, this would instantly make almost all cannabis in Colorado right now illegal…which just isn’t going to happen.
As far as punishments for offenders go, the bill states that there would be a maximum fine payable of $100,000 by those found flouting the rules and selling products with a THC above the established limit. They could also see their dispensaries temporarily closed or have their licenses permanently withdrawn. In order to keep tabs on things, the dispensaries would be expected to regularly report on the THC levels of the products they were selling.
Another element of the bill states that any products with a THC content of 10% or more would have to carry a standardised warning – something that in the eyes of stoners would essentially mean a product that is worth buying.
Though apparently well-meaning, the whole effort is misguided due that to quite stupidly low proposed cap of 15% to 16% THC. Right now, studies have shown that the average THC level in the pot doing the rounds in Colorado is 17.1%. And as for those making, selling, buying and using concentrates, THC levels hit a much higher 62.1%. Which in turn means that they are not targeting super-strong marijuana, but the kind of standard marijuana that makes up most of the marijuana that’s only just been made legal.
What all of this means is that to enforce HB 1261 would be to go about a sudden and catastrophic reversal in state law, the likes of which would send the whole system and industry into chaos. Not only this, but it would play right into the hands of black market growers and dealers, who’d no doubt end up getting more business than the authorised dispensaries.
Still, those behind the drive insist that it all comes down to looking after kids and ensuring that strong marijuana doesn’t get in the hands of those it shouldn’t.
"One of our legislative priorities for this year was to raise awareness of the high levels of THC in the marijuana products in our state," said Henny Lasley of Smart Colorado.
"Concentrates are of course what are put into marijuana edibles, and we have well over 300 of those food products, many, many of which are attractive to children, Lasley added.
“And the high potency and unknown health impacts of those are deeply concerning to Smart."
Attractive, but unavailable to minors – why not campaign for stricter rules on the sale of them, rather than trying to ban them outright? Wicked-strength vodka is also harmful to kids, which is why they can’t buy the damn stuff.
There’s also a bill that’s proposing an outright ban on any cannabis edibles that have a physical appearance kids might be interested in. Animal shapes, fruits, bright colours etc. – presumably they’d prefer to see all cannabis edibles resembling broccoli or anchovies.