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Pot: The Newbie states

I follow marijuana de-prohibition efforts in the west, but also country-wide. 24 states have some form of legal marijuana, but the others have been looking at the subject during their legislative sessions.

When edibles come up, every state wrestles with a solution to this perceived problem. Edibles are food made with marijuana extracts, mainly THC. They are much preferred by medical marijuana “patients”, are becoming very popular with recreational enthusiasts, and are proving to be a very profitable segment of the industry.

The fears of edibles generally focus on access by kids, since some are copies of gummy bears or icing-covered brownies. This fear, taken to absurd lengths, give rise to stories around Halloween about kids being slipped marijuana candy unknowingly. That’s an urban myth, there are no cases known of someone randomly handing out $40 pieces of candy for the fun of it.

The biggest hassle from edibles come from adults knowingly buying the products. The older population trying out pot after 30 years don’t know what proper dosing is and overdo it the first time. There is no such thing as a fatal overdose with marijuana, but going the limit can be quite uncomfortable for a while. Colorado notices an increase in emergency room visits mainly by tourists not accustomed to the products.

Lawmakers have proposed limiting the shapes and colors of the products, and special labels on the packages. Oregon has taken a different approach, halving the quantity of THC in a single serving from the 10 mg standard in Colorado and Washington to 5. Like beer, this means you’ll need to buy twice as much to achieve the same buzz.

Another sticking point is DWI (driving while impaired). I’ve written about this before, but the 10 nanogram per milliliter in the blood limit is a wild-ass salad of impressive words designed to answer opponents of Washington’s I-502, which legalized marijuana. It is meaningless.

I have to give Maine lawmakers credit for honesty: after debating this proposed they gave up and adjourned with no DWI law on the books for marijuana. There was no standard for how much THC in the blood signifies “impairment”, there was no way to measure this practically, there were no definitions of impairment that applied to marijuana, there were no known indications of what driving impairment under the influence of marijuana even looked like, and there was no way to prove such impairment in court.

Ever hear of an auto accident being caused by marijuana? Forty years of drivers driving while stoned and we’ve never heard of it?

Folks not educated about marijuana routinely compare it to that which they know, alcohol and tobacco, and try to apply the same techniques for controlling use. When lawmakers do this we end up with some strange and inappropriate laws.

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