The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had a hankering to write a report on pot edibles in Colorado, so she winged her way to Denver and immediately gobbled up a hash candy bar. She then got so stoned that she ended up in a “fetal position” in her hotel room and for about eight hours descended into a state of paranoia. And it was all for journalism.
“Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end, and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more,” Dowd wrote for her June 3 column. “I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.”
As it turned out, though, Dowd didn’t just get a little high; she got totally stoned–so much so that it left her incapacitated in her hotel room for much of the day.
A few hours after she ate the candy, disaster struck:
But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
Dowd fell victim to Colorado’s newest calamity by eating too much of the pot bar in one sitting. Pot dealers are supposed to inform buyers that pot sweets are to be cut up into as many as sixteen tiny squares for consumption, not just scarfed down whole like any regular sweet treat. This is especially important for those who are not regular users.
The big problem is that these pot edibles are sold without instructions or warnings on the packaging, and people all across the state are putting their health and safety at risk through overconsumption.
As Dowd noted, earlier this year, one man jumped to his death from his hotel room window after consuming too much of a legally purchased pot-laced cookie.
Several Colorado children have also gotten their hands on pot-infused sweets and became dangerously intoxicated after consumption. One case occurred during the first week pot was legalized.
Dowd reports that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper created a task force to change the packaging laws so that edibles are clearly marked for dosing size “with an eye toward protecting children.”
But for many, this comes too late.
Of course, pot sales were presented to legislators as a way to bring in “one billion dollars” in taxes to the state, and many of the safety concerns were given little attention.
But these sales may not be the boon to the state’s coffers as originally projected. By March of this year, it became clear that pot sales did not bring in the estimated taxes that proponents expected. That $1 billion tax windfall fans of the law had touted was downgraded to about $578.1 million.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.