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Tuesday, February 15,2011

Bill would ban edible forms of medical marijuana

Lawmaker cites patient safety, ingestion by minors

By Boulder Weekly Staff

Concern about patient safety and medical marijuana unintentionally making its way into the hands of minors is what drove State Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora, to introduce House Bill 1250. If passed, the bill would remove ingestible forms of medical marijuana from the list of products that may be legally dispensed in Colorado.

The bill, slated for a May 1 hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, would create a ban on edible forms of marijuana, such as brownies, lollipops and beverages.

“What I’m getting complaints from is kids presenting in ERs with accidental ingestion, problems on school campuses with products,” Acree told Boulder Weekly. “I’m not talking about the pot necessarily, but baked goods, candy, gum, suckers — things that were not intended for kids but were intended for patients, packaging that implies things are candy bars or sodas that are ending up being accidentally ingested and putting kids in the ER.”

When asked who would be presenting the medical evidence concerning minors ending up in the ER, Acree said that hasn’t yet been determined. But the evidence is there, she says.

“I’ve never heard of anybody dying from it, so that’s not what I’m talking about,” she says. “I’m talking about kids that have never exhibited psychotic episodes that end up having reactions or young children who have reactions.”

Acree says she’s been talking with pharmacists, doctors and health departments about the issue.

Her other concern is patient safety.

“In terms of dosage, just in terms of quality control, we’re guessing,” she says. “There’s no other pharmaceutical that’s distributed this way, where they bake it ahead of time. You can take it home, you can crunch it up, and you can put it in whatever you want, but we kind of have a different set of standards for this therapeutic treatment than we do for others.”

Acree insists she’s not trying to force medical marijuana patients to smoke the drug.

“They don’t have to smoke it,” she says. “They can do just like other cancer patients that I work with who grind up things and put the powder in their drinks. I don’t have any problem with people baking their own stuff or making their own stuff, I’m just concerned with some of the unintended consequences and our ability to protect patients with quality control.”

The trick in establishing quality control is that no one really knows what’s safe, she says.

“It’s unlike any other pharmaceutical, where somebody has a big interest in it so the pharmaceutical companies actually spend millions to study it, do test studies,” she says. “We all know this stuff’s been around forever, but nobody’s studied it or reported it if they have.”

But the fact that marijuana has been used by human beings for so long is proof to Laura Kriho, spokeswoman for the Cannabis Therapy Institute that HB 1250 is not only unnecessary but also imposes unfairly on medical marijuana users.

“If her concern is diversion to the youth market, it seems to me it’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to ban it all together,” Kriho says. “Why not address the actual problem rather than creating other problems?”

Kriho says that dispensaries offer a variety of forms for consuming medical marijuana to accommodate people’s medical needs. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of smoking it. Others have problems with nausea. Having a range of ingestible methods for taking the drug makes it easier for patients.

She says there’s a reason why people don’t want to bake their own brownies.

“It’s the same reason people don’t grow their own [marijuana] at home,” she says. “They’re too sick to do it. It takes some effort to make a pot brownie, and most people don’t know how to do it. Others are too sick to do it.”

The flurry of laws about medical marijuana in Colorado are serving only to drive up the cost for patients as dispensaries change their policies to comply with an ever-changing legal landscape.

“It comes down to the fact that marijuana users are easy targets and second-class citizens,” Kriho says. “It gives people a feeling of authority and power to be able to stomp on them and put them back in their place as bad pot smokers and bad people. ‘Our drugs are better than your drug.’”

But Acree says she has no problem with patients who use medical marijuana.

“I grew up in the ’70s and ’60s, and I grew up in Arkansas,” she says. “This stuff isn’t new. It’s just becoming more utilized in the open. I realize there are people who agree with it and people who don’t. But from a policy perspective, this is a big issue because you’ve got to try to figure out where the lines are drawn, and we’ve never had to do that before. And the bottom line is the federal government has a different set of standards — it’s illegal.”

The state’s constitution doesn’t guarantee people anything but medical access to the drug, leaving the method of delivery and licensing up to state lawmakers.

“So we’re at the front of this huge industry, and I also am concerned that we’re going to have patients who are relying on people who are developing this big interest stream who may not have their best interests at heart,” she says. “How do we protect patients so they don’t get priced out of the very product they wanted access to and it doesn’t get mixed with things they don’t want?”

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Marijuana has been repeatedly proven to NOT cause cancer, heart disease, brain damage, liver disease, emphysema, or overdoses, and its addictive potential is about on par with coffee. The DEA is 100% misinformed when it calls marijuana "extremely harmful"!


The marijuana prohibition empowers drug dealers and cartels, and makes our children LESS safe! Because of the failings of the prohibition, our children now have easier access to marijuana than to alcohol!   We parents have been patient long enough, we must speak up and demand that marijuana be legally sold to adults in gas stations and supermarkets just as beer and wine are today!


We need laws based on LOGIC, not ideology! We need to Legalize Adult Marijuana sales!!


You're close, but coffee's active ingredient, caffeine, is physically addictive, leading to headaches and nausea when quitting. Cannabis has NO physical withdrawal symptoms. It is, according to former federal judge Francis Lawn, the safest therapeutic substance known to man. You'd have to smoke 1500 pounds of it in 15 minutes to OD and the smoke inhalation would kill you first. This law is just another way to screw those who prefer to not take the prescription pills that kill 200,000 Americans every hear. I doubt seriously that you will find one kid who was actually harmed by their experience with eating or drinking it. I suspect it's far more the over reaction of the parents that is the problem. Before the prohibition in this country, cannabis was the basic ingredient in about 50% of all medications in this country, including children's cough medications. The lies that have been told about this very important plant have done a huge amount of damage to this society, far more than the plant ever has. And when the DEA calls cannabis "extremely harmful", they are referring to how much damage it would do to their reputations if the people knew the truth. And they know they are lying, they are just doing so to protect their own jobs. NOT YOU. Anyways, I agree with you, and I'm not even a parent. But it's got to come from the average person, the rest of us are already on board. It's time to end this nonsense.


Medical marijuana and legalized adult sales of marijuana are two completely different issues and should be treated as such when it comes to laws! That is just what our society needs...ANOTHER legal substance that is PROVEN to impure people's reactions and brain functions. We already have enough to deal with when it comes to (legal) alcohol and other drugs (legal & illegal) and driving. Why are we as a society so anxious to legalize th the general public another impairing substance when we already have proven negative statistics with drunk and drugged drivers, domestic abuse, etc? I have to wonder if you would feel different if one of YOUR children or a spouse was killed by a person impaired by marijuana. Now, most informed people won't argue that medical marijuana has a role in treating certain medical conditions. So, if that is the case and we keep stating that it is a medical treatment, then it should be treated under the law the same as any other medical treatment. It should be regulated, it should have limits, it should be studied, and it should be kept from those who DO NOT have a legal right to be using it...just like any other legal drug would be! A thought would be to make sure the prescriptions for the medical marijuana are governed like any other prescription drug...dispensed by a true pharmacist, short term dosages then see a doctor again to get it renewed, shorter expiration dates for the prescriptions, etc.!!


Let me take your response point by point: It is already a substance that has been shown to impair reaction time, whether legal or illegal, so there is no change there. Most people use common sense when they operate a vehicle or other behavior that requires clarity. For instance, when I have a bad head cold, I can't think clearly. I won't go for a road trip or attempt a writing or art assignment under those conditions. Marijuana has been studied in every other civilized country, study upon study have been published. This country is so far behind on natural remedies that the US is comical in the eyes of Europeans, Canadians and Asians when it comes to our love-affair with the powerful pharmaceutical compnies who own and run the AMA and the FDA. I already agreed that it should be regulated and that people who will abuse marijuana use should be kept from it. If someone killed one of my loved ones, they would probably not be under the influence of marijuana, more likely alcohol, meth or other dangerous drugs. Why don't you go after drugs that are created solely to damage humans and not to heal them? As far as I know, medical marijuana prescriptions are very hard to come by. I know a number of people who should be using it and haven't found a doctor to prescribe yet. That is very sad. If someone you knew had a terminal disease that could be eased with a bit of marijuana would you tell them no because it might get into the hands of some fictitious teenager? (By the way, teenagers know how to get it anyway) Lets keep this discussion coherent.


You are exactly right, let's keep this discussion coherent. READ MY COMMENTS...I have never stated that there shouldn't be medical marijuana available to those who REALLY need it!!!! Let's just make sure it is only going to those who REALLY need it!! I don't know where you are from in Colorado, but the areas I am familiar with; it is pretty darn easy to get a prescription for medical marijuana. Pain is a very hard thing for a doctor to prove actually exists in certain medical/physical conditions. The people who are making all of this hard for those who really need the medical marijuana are the people who fake or exaggerate pain just to get that prescription, but that is not a lot different than any pain medication. I and most people who want to regulate this substance, am not against the proper use of medical marijuana, I am against the rush to blindly put it out there to the public without proper regulation and support. When I am talking about kids I am NOT talking about teenagers...did I use the word teenagers anywhere??? I am talking about children...younger children in the home who would not otherwise be able to get a hold of the drug from a dealer...and I am not talking about banning this drug...regulating the medical marijuana growers and dispensaries and how it is dispensed is what the issue is! Don't read things into what is being said that aren't there! Oh boy, are you ever wrong about the stats when it comes to who and what drugs are found in people who cause injury accidents on our roads today...our legal system, at the moment, does not have a real effective way to test for “other” drugs in those who cause accidents or fatalities, they just stop at alcohol because once they smell alcohol they don't really have to test for other things. Many drug related accidents are just thrown into the DUI stats because officers don't really have to test for anything else in their blood at the point they smell alcohol. This is a huge flaw in our laws right now because it makes the general public think that there really isn’t a big problem with anything other than alcohol and driving. You assume that people are responsible and think these things out before using marijuana or any other drug and driving. Some are some are not and all it takes is just one who is not to cause a life changing accident for a family. Let’s just be reasonable before allowing one more substance that is impairing to be some ease to get a hold of those people that WILL abuse the system. Why is that asking too much?



Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body.  Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws.  I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html  Drop in and let me know what you think!



Marijuana has proven health benefits, it has been tested in every civilized country in the world....except ours. If children are getting access to edibles, the parents are to blame. Do they leave other medications where children can eat them?

So if my grandchildren eat my codeine cough syrup, we will outlaw the pharmacy or the pharmaceutical company?

When our law makers and medical professionals grasp that marijuana is a medication that is necessary for the health and well-being of millions of ill Americans, they will begin to understand how to handle marijuana.

 It is a medication.




If you have ever raised children, you would know that keeping kids from edibles that look like candy and treats is close to impossible at certain ages!! And you would also know that the majority of children would not "eat my codeine cough syrup” because it tastes like medicine, but they sure would sneak a cup cake or a brownie or a piece of candy! It is generally like pulling teeth to get a kid to take cough syrup! On top of that most law makers, if you have ever spoken directly to them, are not arguing that marijuana has some beneficial medical uses, their argument is how it is being dispensed and regulated. IT IS AN IMPARING SUBSTANCE!!!! As an impairing substance it HAS to be regulated for the overall good of our society...whether you would like to admit that or not!


To Kgbl (sp) That is ridiculous. I raised four kids and if there was something I didn't want them to get into, medicine, cleaning chemicals, antifreeze, whatever, I put it up where they couldn't reach it. It is an impairing substance just as cold pills, pain medications, or alcohol are. And so the law is still the same, don't drink, eat or drive or operate machinery while under the influence. No-brainer. I don't mind regulating it, for the people who have no common sense.


WOW, are you sure you are not "impaired" at the moment??? Us some common sense here…Of course MOST of us do our best as parents to keep chemicals and harmful substances from our kids, but when one of those things that can be harmful to them looks as enticing as a brownie, cookie, cupcake or candy, which experience has taught them tastes good…come on, get real!! When you are in the grocery store and try to tell your kids that they can't have the candy that is near the register, they don't believe you when you try to tell them that it is not good for them because they have tasted those things before and know how good they taste, but when they see chemicals that burn their eyes, or smell funny or medicine that doesn’t have a very good taste or smell, etc. they can decipher for themselves at a pretty early age that those things are not good for them! And really....again get real....we have had many laws in place for a very long time to regulate alcohol and other impairing substances and driving and look at the statistics!! Take some time to look up the drunk and impaired driving accidents and fatalities in your area...the laws help some, but most people who do drink regularly or take drugs regularly WILL drive and then they are risking MY life and the lives of many innocent people...WHY give them one more legal thing they can do that with????



The prejudice of Cindy Acree is so apparent "She's been getting complaints", but she has no statistics.  In other words, she's has absolutely no proof that this is really a problem, but it is a good way to get your name in the papers and appeal to her more conservative constituents.

Her bill is just the first step in conservatives doing everything they can (being well known for their ignorance and heartlessness) to deprive sick people of their medicine.  

Telling people that are housebound and very ill to bake their own stuff, or just throw some pot in your tea, shows her profound ignorance about this topic.  All that's left is smoking....but that's okay, because these sick people don't really count anyway.  Especially to Republicans, who believe compassion is a dirty word.  



I recently read The Medical Marijuana Handbook, many benefits that I was unaware of. I know several people who have benefitted in the last stages of terminal cancer, by having the comfort and aliviation of pain and other symptoms. I know that people with wealth provide their relatives with whatever they need in whatever hospital they grace with their presence. Shouldn't the rest of us have that option? And to further note, marijuana helps alliviate and even cure some illnesses. The test results are public, but this country hides from anything that isn't produced by a pharmaceutical company. Speaking of which, do intelligent people really turn a blind eye to side-effects of pharmaceuticals? Is the AMA truly owned by big pharmaceutical? And back to edibles, the preparation of edibles is very complicated, you can't just throw it into your tea and cookies. It has to be made into a butter or extract first. I know that it's beyond my cooking skills.