As more states get on board with medical and recreational marijuana, differing state regulations are inevitable. Take packaging regulations. They are nearly nonexistent at the federal level. As far as the states go, each one does its own thing. A recent article published by The Cannigma blames prohibition in part.
When the pro cannabis community refers to ‘prohibition’, they are referring to the fact that federal law still bans marijuana and THC. There is some validity to claims that the federal ban has hampered efforts to create packaging and labeling standards. In fact, conflicting federal and state laws have allowed cannabis to remain relatively unregulated as compared to things like prescription medications and alcohol.
The most interesting aspect in all of this is that the states have done it to themselves. They have essentially thumbed their noses at Washington by ostensibly legalizing medical and recreational pot. But they have not actually legalized anything. They have simply chosen to turn the other way while state residents produce, distribute, possess, and use a federally banned substance.
Kids Eating Their Parents’ Pot
The Cannigma article wasn’t primarily about prohibition. Rather, it was about young children getting into their parents’ marijuana stashes. A big concern is that young kids are eating cannabis edibles manufactured and packaged as gummies, chocolate candies, etc. The results are not good.
According to a Canadian study cited in the article, the number of pediatric emergency department admissions has doubled in the four years since recreational cannabis sales were approved in that country. It is one thing for an adult or teenager to consume too much cannabis in a single sitting; it’s an entirely different matter when a child does it.
The point being made by The Cannigma is that Washington and the states need to find a way to get together and standardize packaging and labeling. They need to find a way to regulate packaging to make it child resistant. But can that happen as long as federal and state laws remain at odds?
Someone Has to Take the Lead
If stricter regulations are in order, someone will have to take the lead. Perhaps Utah lawmakers would be good candidates. According to the Utah medical cannabis clinic Utah Marijuana, the Beehive State has one of the most tightly controlled medical cannabis programs in the country. A black market undoubtedly exists in the state, but it is hard to believe that illicit operators are as plentiful in Utah as they are in less restrictive states like Colorado and California.
Incidentally, the author of the Cannigma article is a pediatric pharmacist in a Southern California emergency department. He readily admits that illicit marijuana products are still more plentiful in his state than their legal counterparts. So much of what happens in the Golden State’s marijuana space is illicit. So much of it is black market stuff. Packaging that is too easy for kids to get into is just one of many problems they face.
The Results of Reckless Actions
As someone who has been covering the cannabis space for several years, I see the many problems faced by the industry as being result of reckless actions by the states. Conflicting rules at the state level were inevitable once the legalization movement began in earnest. It seems to me that state lawmakers have been reckless, and continue to be so, by giving the green light to medical end recreational marijuana despite it still being illegal under federal law. Yet all of this could go away if prohibition would come to an end. Whether or not that happens is anyone’s guess.