Many of Colorado’s recreational marijuana retailers are scrambling to bring in new business. Instead of targeting the experienced and knowledgeable cannabis users, stores are looking to lure in a more “THC-naïve” clientele.
To attract these consumers, many Colorado retailers are offering up a new line of marijuana edibles that provide a “mild” high.
Edibles Pose Hidden Dangers
Marijuana retailers are focusing on products that make it possible to give inexperienced users enough cannabis to get them high, but not so high that they don’t enjoy the buzz. It’s essentially the same kind of marketing tactics used to sell diet soft drinks; customers are promised the same flavors with fewer calories. The difference, however, is that soda isn't an intoxicant.
"No one buys a handle of Jim Beam and thinks they should drink all of that in one sitting," said Tim Cullen, owner of two Denver-area marijuana dispensaries. "But people do want to eat an entire cookie, an entire piece of chocolate. So these products allow you to do that and not have a miserable experience."
New Edible Items
New edibles in Colorado cannabis stores include items like the "Rookie Cookie," a marijuana-infused snack that contains 10 milligrams of THC. Stores claim it’s a dosage that consumers can ingest and still “safely” drive a car.
There's also Dixie One watermelon cream soda, a marijuana-infused beverage that’s supposedly 15 times weaker than the company's best-selling soda. The watermelon flavored cream soda contains 5 milligrams of THC and is said to be "great for those who are new to THC or don't like to share."
A Deadly Tourist Trap?
While state dispensaries are thriving, a market study published earlier this year revealed that nearly half of all recreational customers in the Denver-area are tourists. And, since tourists can’t legally shop in Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries, a large portion of them are unfamiliar with the potent side effects – especially when it comes to edibles. A number of novice tourists purchase marijuana edibles and quickly fall into an unrelenting stupor.
One of the most tragic edibles incidents occurred several months ago in Denver. After eating one cannabis cookie, 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi, a visiting Wyoming college student, leapt from a hotel balcony to his death. An autopsy report revealed Pongi had exceeded the recommended serving for THC edibles, listing marijuana intoxication as the contributing factor of death.