Colorado Childproofs Marijuana Brownies

Children have been accidentally consuming brownies and cookies laced with marijuana, leading to trips to the emergency room

flickr/Kelly Garbato
In an effort to eliminate accidental marijuana ingestions, Colorado legislation is working to require child-resistant packaging for marijuana products.

Looks can be deceiving.

In Colorado, doctors have found an increase of accidental marijuana ingestions since a law change in 2009 that allowed more freedom with marijuana use.

George Sam Wang, an emergency room doctor at Children’s Hospital Colorado, conducted a study and found that since the law change, he has treated 14 kids under the age of 12 for marijuana ingestion.

“It is ironic that we’re seeing these unintended consequences of these [medical marijuana products] we decided to allow in public,” Wang told NPR’s The Salt. “Our goal was to educate the public so that we can try and keep things out of the kids’ hands and prevent these cases.”

Eight of the cases involved medical marijuana, seven consumed pot-laced food. Severe symptoms included lethargy and respiratory problems. Two children were so affected they were treated in intensive care units.

Wang’s study, the first of its kind since marijuana legalization, appeared two weeks ago in the medical journal “JAMA Pediatrics.” 

The most reasonable solution is to require child-resistant packaging on marijuana edibles, in the opinion of Michael Kosnett, a medical toxicologist and associate clinical professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“What was concerning to us was that here were dispensaries selling products very clearly labeled as drugs, but yet those stores were not packaging them like other medications,” Kosnett said. “We know from experience that the use of child-resistant packaging has been highly effective at preventing poisoning of children.”

The doctors’ concerns have quickly been heard. Last week, Colorado’s governor signed into law a bill to require the child-resistant packaging for medical marijuana products.


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