What is Rocky Mountain High?
John Denver made famous the song ‘Rocky Mountain High’, but he never envisioned the highs that the citizens of Colorado would be receiving from marijuana edibles almost 40 years later.
Colorado Legalized Recreational Marijuana
In 2012 the state of Colorado passed Amendment 64 which legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults, making Colorado the first state to end marijuana prohibition in the United States – and allowing its citizens to enjoy unlimited Rocky Mountain Highs! Passing Amendment 64 allowed adults 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from specialty marijuana dispensaries and grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. Possession is limited to up to an ounce for personal use, but selling marijuana without a license, purchasing marijuana from a party who is not licensed as well as public use of marijuana will remain illegal. It should be noted that this amendment does not change the research and use of medicinal marijuana.
Colorado Regulates the Cultivation and Sales of Marijuana and Marijuana Products
One unique distinction of Amendment 64 is a proposed regulated system for cultivation and sales, which will eliminate the underground marijuana market and generate tens of millions of dollars per year in new revenue and criminal justice savings. It also directs the legislature to regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp, a versatile, popular, and environmentally friendly agricultural crop.
Food Scientists Employed to Implement Safe Product Development and Commercialization
So what’s a consultant with a PhD in food science to do? As a food scientist living in Colorado where recreational and medicinal marijuana (cannabis) products are legal, I decided to engage in the opportunity of developing marijuana edibles in food and beverage products. As a consulting scientist, I have received requests from Colorado and California companies to help develop safe cannabis food edibles. My primary development goals are to help clients create “safe and effective” cannabis edible products.
Life and Death Matter of Marijuana Edibles
The development and commercialization process of cannabis edibles is no different than the developing regular food products – with one exception. And that exception is dose control which can represent a life and death matter, particularly for edibles designed to meet specific medical needs – a second consumer focus is the creation of marijuana edibles that are bacteria and pathogen free.
So before you pick up that chocolate cupcake or brownie at your company Christmas party, read the label, smell the product, and understand the dosage before you eat your favorite edible – and consider limiting consumption to one portion – or forever experience John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High!
Darrel Suderman, PhD
Food Technical Consulting