The new Colorado initiative on capping recreational marijuana products at 15-16 percent THC are stated to be wrong and senseless.
Two proposals were already filed in the last week of March seeking to cap the amount of THC in Colorado's recreational marijuana products at 15 or 16 percent. One of the proposals is an amendment to the “sunset bill” HB 1261. The other one is a ballot initiative. If to explain briefly, the cannabis manufacturers of Colorado would not be able to sell products with over-15-percent THC potency, while all the edibles would be sold in single dosages, which is 10 milligrams of THC.
While average people who do not know much about the marijuana industry think that these two proposals are not a big deal, we have to explain their potential underlying problems.
One may wonder why the THC content should be exactly 15-16 percent. The thing is that the supporters of the limitation idea are never weary of reminding that all studies on the effects of weed were conducted on cannabis products with 2-8 percent of THC. That means that technically the effects of marijuana products with higher levels of THC are unknown. But why is it exactly a 15-16 percent barrier? Why is it not 10, for instance? Heaven knows. Logic and science have no power here. But it is rather suspicious that the advocates of THC limitations have chosen the average THC content of cannabis flowers as the so-called “high THC level.”
Why were those studies conducted on cannabis products with only 2-8 percent of THC, you may ask? The reason can be explained simply. First of all, the cannabis with low THC content was usually provided by the federal government’s University of Mississippi lab. Secondly, these studies were conducted more than 20 years ago. It was the time when it was not easy to obtain properly grown cannabis.
We think that it would be better to conduct more studies rather than act blindfolded. Who knows, maybe if we created the necessary legal and medical framework for up-to-date research, we could find positive effects of weed with high THC content. And even if we did not, we would get closely reasoned arguments to cap the potency of cannabis products.
If we take a closer look at Colorado's marijuana products, we will see that a great part of them have approximately 17-percent THC potency. These two above-mentioned proposals will make the producers change the way they grow marijuana flowers, which normally test at approximately 20 percent of THC. Not all producers would be able to satisfy the new standards and change. Most of them would have to close the business.
This situation in the market will lead to one more serious problem. There are many people who use recreational cannabis for medical reasons. Non-local visitors of Colorado buy and use marijuana and marijuana products to relieve their pain. They go to recreational dispensaries. And there is no other option for them. If the THC content is levelled, the effectiveness of medication will change, and it will mean that they will fall short of their opportunity to find pain relief. It is not hard to guess what they will do in such case. At best, they will visit another state with reasonable regulations. At worst, they will resort to gray and black markets that have no regulations at all. To top it all off, the situation with weed-infused edibles is still unclear.