We Need Potency Caps and Elimination of Edibles to Protect Vulnerable Citizens

Taking candy from a baby may seem like a mean-spirited thing to do. But what if the candy is a pot-laced gummy bear with a dangerous THC potency level? Would we want an unsuspecting child to ingest it thinking it was a fun treat?

The passage of I-190 may have seemed like a victory for marijuana users who want easy access to their right to get high. But the truth is a lot of unsuspecting users, including children, teens and even adults, can become seriously ill if they ingest an edible with a high THC potency level.

THC potency cap bills are being introduced in several states where recreational marijuana has been legalized. While pot enthusiasts see these bills as a detriment to the industry, responsible lawmakers are looking to protect the health of would-be consumers. An innocent-looking gummy bear would be irresistible to a child seeing it simply as a piece of juicy candy. But the THC level in that gummy bear could cause severe reactions in a small child, at times even resulting in a hospital admission.

Children’s Hospital Colorado states “the most common overdose incidents in children occur when the drug has been combined with food in an “edible” form. Marijuana ingested this way can have a stronger and more prolonged effect, especially in children under the age of 12.

Colorado, who legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, is currently working on a bill to more tightly regulate the industry and it includes a potency cap on THC. With the state having legalized almost ten years ago, they have had the time to truly understand the issues and what needs to be done to protect vulnerable citizens.

Florida recently approved a bill to cap the amount of THC in medical marijuana as they are seeing abuses in the program such as “doctor shopping” to find the practitioners who will write more potent scrips. Legalized recreational marijuana has made it readily available to a much larger population, so the need for these caps is greater.

It is no secret that cannabis has become more potent over the years as THC concentrations have increased. Any state voting to legalize marijuana needs to take this into consideration when designing a state-regulated program. Without limits on THC potency, we are playing Russian roulette. The Surgeon General has publicly stated that higher doses of THC “are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis” and that marijuana use during pregnancy “is associated with adverse outcomes, including lower birth weights.”

Montana legislators are making every attempt to be proactive before recreational marijuana is readily available for purchase. Bills that will put a cap on the allowable percentage of THC are being drafted and presented.

Do your research and contact your legislators to support the efforts toward potency caps. Better yet, tell your legislators you want to delay the implementation of the recreational marijuana program and support efforts to repeal I-190.