Marijuana Edibles: What Makes a Warning Adequate?
Thursday, Apr 16, 2015

Every couple of months or so, a news story breaks espousing the dangers of marijuana edibles. Unsurprisingly, on the heels of recent studies showing that marijuana testing labs aren’t all that accurate, a recent Denver Post article is once again playing on primarily unfounded fears surrounding edible cannabis products.

Edibles regulation is an issue that both Colorado and Washington rule makers have grappled with since the inception of their recreational marijuana laws. Both states have released numerous amendments to their rules governing edibles labeling, packaging and warnings.

Following Maureen Dowd’s infamous New York Times piece detailing her marijuana “overdose,” as well as the widely reported suicides of two individuals who had consumed cannabis edibles, anxiety over how to properly regulate these edibles has reached a new high. The debate, however, seems to have somewhat shifted from “how to prevent accidental ingestion by children” to “how to prevent adults from ingesting too much.” This second issue is tougher to tackle. If clear, visible warnings are in place on packaging, is the government even capable of ensuring that reasonable adults heed those warnings? Where do we draw the line between the manufacturer’s responsibility to warn, and the individual’s responsibility to act … responsibly?