DENVER (Reuters) - Pot-infused brownies, candies and other confections that are “naturally attractive to children” should be banned, according to recommendations on Monday by Colorado health officials to a task force charged with drafting rules on marijuana edibles.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said edible marijuana products should instead be limited to “a simple lozenge/hard candy or tinctures.”
Colorado and Washington state became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana under ballot measures approved in 2012, and similar measures will go to voters next month in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.
Retail pot sales began in Colorado in January and hospitals in the state have since reported an uptick in the number of children treated for ingesting marijuana edibles.
That has led state lawmakers to form a working group of stakeholders to propose new measures governing the packaging and labeling of pot-infused products.
The health department said allowing cannabis confections that may confuse consumers is not what voters intended when they legalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana by adults.
“Parents’ concerns regarding infused candies and other edibles that resemble traditional food items are addressed because those types of retail marijuana products would not be allowed,” the health department recommendation said.
The working group will present its proposals to the state legislature in February.
Among requirements already passed into law is one that says that by 2016 all pot edibles must be shaped, stamped, colored or otherwise marked with a standard symbol indicating they contain marijuana and are not for consumption by children.
Activists have recorded examples of Colorado children, teenagers and adults falling ill after ingestion of edible pot products. Two deaths linked to edibles have been reported.
In one case, a college student from the Republic of Congo jumped to his death from a balcony after eating marijuana cookies, and in the other a Denver man was accused of fatally shooting his wife, apparently after consuming something similar and hallucinating.
With the approach of Halloween on Oct. 31, Colorado police have been warning parents that children may find pot edibles by accident and mistake them for regular candy.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh