Politicians in Colorado have approved two Bills which seek to place tougher restrictions on edible cannabis sales, amid reports of two deaths linked to edible forms of the drug.
On Monday, the Colorado House of Representatives voted in favour of two Bills – one to stop shops selling highly concentrated cannabis, and another that would require edible cannabis products to be more easily identifiable.
Both proposals require further votes before being signed into law.
Selling cannabis for recreational use came into force at the beginning of this year. Since then, the state has reportedly seen an increase in cannabis poisonings, including six children who ate the drug accidentally.
In March, 19-year-old Congolese student Levy Pongi jumped to his death from a Holiday Inn balcony after consuming a highly potent cannabis cookie.
And last week Richard Kirk, 47, shot dead his wife in their Denver home after he began hallucinating – police reports suggest he ate a form of edible cannabis before the attack.
Ben Cort, Director of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation, said: “This experiment in my home state has been a disaster and an absolute failure, with increased use and certainly the fatalities we are starting to see.”
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who heads Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said the federal government should step in and enforce the national cannabis ban.
He said: “The federal government is culpable for the increased use by young people, that’s something the Administration does not want to have on its conscience.
“It’s important the Administration understands what is happening on the ground in Colorado”, he added.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana say their research shows that there has been a 30 per cent increase in positive drug tests for cannabis in the workplace in Colorado Springs since 2013.
Earlier this month, Colorado unveiled the world’s first cannabis vending machine aimed at recreational use.
The ‘ZaZZZ machine’, which is not available to the general public yet, uses cameras and advanced biometrics to check that the user is old enough to purchase cannabis.
Stephen Shearin, CEO of the machine’s parent company Tranzbyte, told a pro-cannabis online magazine that he had “envisioned something like this 20 years ago” but didn’t think he’d “live to see the end of prohibition” of cannabis.
Vending machines for the drug are already available in other states for medical purposes, but this is the first of its kind for recreational use.