The Oregon Health Authority proposed a controversial set of rules that hope to keep marijuana-infused candies and foods, known as “edibles,” away from children. The rules state that dispensaries in Oregon can’t provide patients with any marijuana product that’s “manufactured in a form that resembles cake-like products, cookies, candy, or gum, or that otherwise may be attractive to minors because of its shape, color, or taste.”
As the old adage says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Many people who need marijuana medically prefer to consume edibles because they’re often more potent, and because the effects often last longer. Smoking pot can be rather harsh as well, which is also why so many others prefer to eat it.
Tamara Staples, president of a group representing patients who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, said that edibles are “a more pleasant way to take their medicine.”
Prior to the passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, unregulated, unlicensed medical dispensaries operated throughout Oregon. Despite the absence of regulations, there was never any epidemic of children consuming edibles. The advocates of edibles argue that it’s ultimately up to adults and parents to keep children away from marijuana-infused sweets, like it were any other medicine.
There are also many other legal alternatives that can keep medical marijuana away from minors, other than this blanket ban. Chiefly, Oregon can follow the lead of other states, like Colorado, in requiring that all edibles be packaged in child-proof casings.
The same laws that now ban edibles in Oregon actually set up child-proofing requirements on other forms of medical marijuana. These rules state that the packaging also be opaque, so that its contents cannot be seen from the outside. If there’s more than a single serving inside, then the packaging must also be closable as well. There also cannot be any cartoons on the package or “images other than the logo of the facility, unless the logo of the facility depicts the product or cartoons, in which case only the name of the facility is permitted.”
While the laws’ intent is clear and necessary, the way it’s being put into practice isn’t, since the ban on sweet edibles will ultimately hurt patients who can’t smoke cannabis for similar reasons why they need it in the first place.