Medibles Industry Thrives, Regulation Struggles to Keep Up in Washington
Marijuana-infused edibles are a popular alternative for consuming cannabis for those who don’t want to smoke, or even vaporize. They can be transported easier than marijuana itself and the effects tend to last longer than smoked cannabis.
For this reason they will always be popular in areas where medical marijuana is legal, like Washington State. The problem is that the regulation of medibles isn’t keeping pace with how fast the industry is growing.
One of the things about prohibition is that is gives the illusion of control when in fact the government has little control over illegal markets. Lack of control means lack of regulation, which leaves suppliers and makers of medibles in the dark as to what standard to follow.
Medibles come in many forms, from cookies and brownies to candy and sodas. While they all contain marijuana, they also contain other ingredients, and there are really no rules when it comes to those ingredients.
"You have people making products that are not regulated in any way, with no instructions for how to be stored, no expiration date," said Jim Chaney, 27, who has produced infused chai-flavored drinks and capsules under the name Dream Cream. "The state is just failing to do any kind of quality health inspection."
Is it really that difficult for state officials to regulate food products that contain marijuana? The law in the state concerning medical marijuana is vague in some areas to be sure, but this is a matter of public health. Of course, medical marijuana itself is a public health issue, and officials in many states couldn’t seem to care less about that.
Real and sensible regulation will only come with full legalization. Until then, many in the industry just have to play it by ear.
Many Medical Marijuana Patients on a Fixed Income Face Hardship
Elvy Musikka is a 73-year old grandmother who is a legal medical marijuana patient in Oregon. She is also one of the few surviving people still getting marijuana from the federal government under a 1978 program.
But the marijuana she gets from the feds is old and not very potent, so she mixes it with the three pounds of cannabis she gets from the state of Oregon. The problem is, the fees now charged by the state are getting to be too much for her budget to handle.
Last October, the state imposed new fees on medical marijuana card holders. The new fees doubled the annual cost of getting a medical marijuana card to $200. It also imposed grower fees of $50 and, if patients switch growers or change the address where it's grown, the state charges an additional $100.
"For them to come at us and ask for a hundred dollars from us, I find that very criminal," said Musikka.
She lives on a fixed income of $700 a month and said she she's now been forced to drop out of the program. And she said she's not alone, dozens of others have also been forced to drop out because of costs.
"I lost sight unnecessarily because of the change in those rules," she said.
She said without her Oregon medicine, her glaucoma has steadily gotten worse, resulting in two separate eye surgeries.
"It turned into two detached retinas, it turned into me being completely blind for a month."
Fees and taxes are always going to be a problem when it comes to legal marijuana, medical or otherwise. The natural instinct of government is to get as much money out of something as possible so they can proceed to waste a lot of it. It is up to advocates to fight back and keeps costs to patients as low as possible.
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