Colorado Busybodies Aim to Make High THC Levels Illegal
15 percent limit? They must be HIGH.
Published on May 13, 2016

An adrenalized movement, led by Smart Colorado, is aimed at controlling how strong your pot can be. A proposed Colorado amendment would limit the potency of cannabis and cannabis products between 15 and 16 percent. House Bill 1261 would put the cap on all cannabis products. This, as we all know, would take out the majority of Colorado pot. As usual, the looming issue of children with drugged candy fuels the frenzy.

Punishments for exceeding the proposed THC limit range from a suspended license to full revocation and a $100,000 fine. Dispensaries would be expected to report THC with the accuracy of plus or minus five percent THC.

The bill would also impose a warning label on all marijuana products with over 10 percent THC. Like the “Parental Advisory” sticker, a label like that would probably just indicate which products are the best. Most likely, extraction artists would be the hardest hit with THC levels far above the laughable proposed limit.

The 15-16 percent THC limit is no good. For starters, the limit is below the average potency of marijuana in the state. A recent study found Colorado's pot to have an average THC content of 17.1 percent and 62.1 percent for concentrates.

Not even pot with average potency would be acceptable. Implementing HB 1261 would be unconstitutional and it would create a whole new black market of bootlegged top-shelf and extracts.

Smart Colorado continues to insist that children are getting the marijuana products. "One of our legislative priorities for this year was to raise awareness of the high levels of THC in the marijuana products in our state," said Henny Lasley of Smart Colorado.

As expected, the bill's sponsors used the classic Halloween candy argument. "Concentrates are of course what are put into marijuana edibles, and we have well over 300 of those food products, many, many of which are attractive to children, Lasley added. “And the high potency and unknown health impacts of those are deeply concerning to Smart."

This myth is being perpetuated even further with another bill, the gummy bear bill. The proposed bill would ban infused edibles in the shapes of fruits, animals or people. The Colorado House passed the bill and it advances to the Senate.

Preventing teen and child use, in the eyes of Smart Colorado, overrides all other factors—including cancer patients, HIV patients, and others that depend on strong edibles for survival.

The THC limit is unworkable in practice. "I don't think a lot of thought was put into the proposals," said Mark Slaugh of the Cannabis Business Alliance. "This bill threatens to wipe out most infused product manufacturers, and its language is unclear as to what to do with edibles."

One attempt to pass HB 1261 failed to pass the state House. The House Finance Committee dismissed the bill for now with a 6-5 vote. The House will still have more opportunities to push the bill in further sessions.

"We'll be revisiting this next year, for sure," said Representative KC Becker, who didn't vote on the measure.

Representative Kathleen Conti is the proposed bill's main sponsor. "We do not know how this affects the brain, especially the developing brain of our kids," Conti said at the hearing. "... I think we need to proceed with caution."

A cautious approach to legislation that affects thousands of business owners is also worth consideration.

Benjamin M. Adams
Benjamin Adams is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a slew of publications including CULTURE, Cannabis Now Magazine, and Vice. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenBot11
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