Oregon lawmaker says marijuana candy overdose shows state needs to move slowly on recreational pot

Oregon lawmaker says marijuana candy overdose shows state needs to move slowly on recreational pot

A key lawmaker says a marijuana overdose in an Oregon resort town shows the need to go slowly on making pot-infused candies, cookies and other edibles available to the public.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat who co-chairs a committee working on implementing the ballot measure approved last fall that legalized recreational marijuana. She said Wednesday she’s not willing to allow the sale of marijuana edibles until regulators figure out how to control potency and keep them away from kids.

“I don’t think we are in a position to approve any kind of edibles right now,” Burdick said. “We have to figure out a way to package them, label them, and make sure people understand the dosage.”

Commercial pot sales are not expected to start until late 2016, though Oregonians can legally possess up to a half pound of marijuana at home starting in July.

Measure 91 allows for edible forms of marijuana to be sold, but because it is not a constitutional amendment, it can be changed by the Legislature. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is developing regulations.

Colorado and Washington state, where recreational marijuana is already legal, have struggled with the issues of dosage and labeling with marijuana edibles.

Police in Sunriver say an officer called to a condominium Monday found a 37-year-old woman from Washington state slumped on a bathroom floor, pale and having trouble breathing. She was numb from the shoulders down.

Police Chief Marc Mills said it was the officer’s first experience with a marijuana overdose and that he initially thought the woman had overdosed on heroin. It soon became clear she had eaten three marijuana candies shaped like raspberries that had been brought by another woman. That woman bought the candies in a shop in Washington, police said.

The candies were in a plastic snap-top container with no packaging indicating how potent they were or how to use them.

“The comment was that they tasted pretty good, and she had one, then had another, and had another, and then all of a sudden, ‘Oh, not feeling so good,'” said Mills.

Medics treated the woman at the scene, and she refused to go to the hospital. Both women later went home to Washington, Mills said.

Officers confiscated the candy and cited the woman who bought it for having less than an ounce of marijuana, police said.

— The Associated Press

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