Humble Evaluates Edible Medical Marijuana Regulations

Jun 9, 2014

The state’s top health official is weighing new regulations on what medical marijuana patients need to be told about edible versions of the drug — and when enough is enough. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

State Health Director Will Humble
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

The state’s medical marijuana law was approved four years ago. But, it was not until March that a judge said the law allows the use of extracts versus actual pieces of the plant. And, that opens the door to sale of more kinds of food products. State Health Director Will Humble said that’s probably healthier than smoking the plant.

“But, they’re much harder to regulate the dose. And so you have a bigger opportunity with edibles to overdose on the medical marijuana because you continue to eat either a brownie that was more potent than your realize, or more brownies than you probably should have,” Humble said.

And, by the time the effect hits, it’s too late to do much about it. Humble wants to find new ways to enforce existing requirements that marijuana dispensary employees actually talk with patients about what they are buying and its effects. Andrew Myers, director of the Arizona Dispensary Association, said oversight also benefits proponents of medical marijuana.

“The biggest risk of people having too much medication when it comes to cannabis is really that they’re not going to use it again,” Myers said.

And, Myers said dispensary operators might even agree to undercover inspections of their shops to ensure patients are being properly warned.