It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.
I reckoned that the fact that I was not a regular marijuana smoker made me more vulnerable, and that I should have known better. But it turns out, five months in, that some kinks need to be ironed out with the intoxicating open bar at the Mile High Club.
Colorado raked in about $12.6 million the first three months after pot was legalized for adults 21 and over. Pot party planners are dreaming up classy events: the just had its first “Classically Cannabis” fund-raiser with joints and Debussy. But the state is also coming to grips with the darker side of unleashing a drug as potent as marijuana on a horde of tourists of all ages and tolerance levels seeking a mellow buzz.
In March, a 19-year-old Wyoming college student jumped off a Denver hotel balcony after eating a pot cookie with 65 milligrams of THC. In April, a Denver man ate pot-infused Karma Kandy and began talking like it was the end of the world, scaring his wife and three kids. Then he retrieved a handgun from a safe and killed his wife while she was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.
As Jack Healy reported in The Times on Sunday, Colorado hospital officials “are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana” and neighboring states are seeing more stoned drivers.
“We realized there was a problem because we’re watching everything with the urgency of the first people to regulate in this area,” said Andrew Freedman, the state’s director of marijuana coordination. “There are way too many stories of people not understanding how much they’re eating. With liquor, people understand what they’re getting themselves into. But that doesn’t exist right now for edibles for new users in the market. It would behoove the industry to create a more pleasant experience for people.
“The whole industry was set up for people who smoked frequently. It needs to learn how to educate new users in the market. We have to create a culture of responsibility around edibles, so people know what to expect to feel.”
Gov. and the Legislature recently created a task force to come up with packaging that clearly differentiates pot cookies and candy and gummy bears from normal sweets — with an eye toward protecting children — and directed the Department of Revenue to restrict the amount of edibles that can be sold at one time to one person. The governor also signed legislation mandating that there be a stamp on edibles, possibly a marijuana leaf. (Or maybe a stoned skull and bones?)
The state plans to start testing to make sure the weed is spread evenly throughout the product. The task force is discussing having budtenders give better warnings to customers and moving toward demarcating a single-serving size of 10 milligrams. (Industry representatives objected to the expense of wrapping bites of candy individually.)
“My kids put rocks and batteries in their mouths,” said Bob Eschino, the owner of Incredibles, which makes candy and serves up chocolate and strawberry fountains. “If I put a marijuana leaf on a piece of chocolate, they’ll still put it in their mouths.”
He argues that, since pot goodies leave the dispensary in childproof packages, it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure their kids don’t get hold of it.
“Somebody suggested we just make everything look like a gray square so it doesn’t look appealing. Why should the whole industry suffer just because less than 5 percent of people are having problems with the correct dosing?”
Does he sound a little paranoid?Continue reading the main story
Back in February, I pulled a Maureen Dowd and completely lost my f’ing mind on (legal)edibles in Denver, Colorado. (I emphasize ‘legal’ for my current employers and any future employers. Hi, guys.)
Let me start by saying: I’m weed ignorant.
I believe this is how many stories begin when someone loses their shit on edibles.
“I didn’t feel anything so I started eating more…”
I guess when my boyfriend and I nervously bought the THC-filled cookies from a dispensary in the hip Highlands part of Denver, our knees shaking as we giggled like senior citizens who had just watched a porno for the first time, we must have missed the part about waiting an hour to feel the effects. We were too busy feeling like scared ass clowns.
Instead, about 30 minutes into eating the cookies, my boyfriend proclaimed that the skunky-tasting treats were defective, so we decided to go for a second one. And then a half of a third.
And for another 30 minutes, nothing.
And then we met up with our friend Cameron at the beautiful and newly renovated Union Station in downtown Denver.
And then we sat down to have a drink at the Terminal Bar.
AND THEN I LOST MY FUCKING MIND.
When I say I lost my mind, I mean I thought my face was melting off. I thought I was that Nazi dude at the end of Raiders of the Los Ark after the spirits disco’d out of the ark.
I first noticed shit was going south when I couldn’t follow a word of what my boyfriend and friend were saying. It went from a perfectly lovely conversation about the state of independent cinema to people sounding like beached seals. Concentrating was difficult, and not standing up and shouting “SOMEONE TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!!!!” was even more difficult, but I managed to shuffle my way to the bathroom so I could slap some cold water on my face.
It took me 37 years to walk to the bathroom.
Once there, looking in the mirror, I noticed that my eyes were as wide as pinky toenails, and I had a giant shit-eating grin on my face. WHY AM I SMILING?! I thought. I AM SLOWLY DECOMPOSING!
I shuffled back to our seat at the bar and played it cool. I held my finger under my chin and nodded intently after every four words that came out of Geoff and Cameron’s mouths. One…two…three….four, nod in agreement. One…two…three…four, nod in agreement. You can do this Lauren, I pep talked myself. But I couldn’t do it. It took every ounce of my being not to simultaneously barf laughter and fall to the ground. I got up one more time to go to the bathroom, and when I came back, I gave Geoff the universal sign for “I’M DYING!” At this point I had to admit to my party that I was high as Neptune. They, of course, could already tell, but they had no idea how bad off I was. It was only when I started walking like this cat that they could tell.
Geoff escorted me back to our car and then our hotel room, where I promptly plopped on the floor like a rag doll.
“God, I’m fucking ‘UNGRY!” I kept mumbling over and over as I stared at my unbelievably large hands. Geoff, who was still not feeling the effects of the edibles, jumped on a phone call with a filmmaker friend. At some point he saw me pawing the air and heard my faint cries of starvation. He walked over to the mini fridge and pulled out a leftover slice of pizza from the night before.
He hung the slice of pizza over my head and I ate it like a Goddamn dog, y’all.
Seriously. I never tasted something so good in my life.
After I ate the pizza, I crawled into bed. Bed felt good. It felt warm and welcoming. But there was a gnawing sensation I just couldn’t shake: Geoff is going to jump off the hotel room balcony.
I watched Geoff pace the mezzanine as he talked to his friend, and I became convinced that at any moment he was going to hurl himself like a Muppet into the parking lot below. I whispered, “Geoff, don’t do it. Don’t jump,” but he couldn’t hear me. I drifted off into a deep, dreamless sleep. (Geoff didn’t jump.)
The next morning I was still high.
I stayed that way until midday, and my brain stayed relatively confused for a few days afterwards.
Geoff and I couldn’t bring ourselves to even look at the remaining cookies, and we flushed them down a toilet and then drove to a random downtown trash can to throw away the bag they came in.
Needless to say I have zero interest in eating the DEVIL’S CANDY ever again. Granted I did it wrong- I ate way too many- but it was still enough to scare the poop out of me. All kidding aside, we were pretty dumb. Edibles can be serious business for some, and they’re not to be taken lightly. End PSA.
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Lauren is a writer and professional Jeff Goldblum lover.