Photo via Denver Police Department’s Facebook page

For potheads the world over, Colorado is a beacon of freedom. The first US state to tax and regulate marijuana serves as a symbolic Mecca and a working model for other pot-curious jurisdictions to follow when they finally decide to legalize it. Thus far, Colorado lawmakers and the local cannabis industry have cooperated with cool heads and the news from Colorado has been largely positive—tax revenue is up, enforcement costs are down, and the state is home to a booming new tourist market, and general enthusiasm among residents.

Despite these boons, and the perception of Colorado as a legal weed wonderland, a conflict continues to brew between Colorado’s pro-marijuana majority and a small but steadfast group who believe that legalization is spiraling out of control. The battle came to a head on Monday, when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommended a ban on all edible marijuana products in the state, except for lozenges and tinctures. In a statement released by the CDPHE, cheif medical officer Larry Wolk said, “Edibles pose a definite risk to children, and that’s why we recommended limiting marijuana-infused products.”

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Their concern is not a new one. Since retail marijuana sales took effect in Colorado on January 1, consumers have shown an insatiable appetite for edibles, and they’ve become a significant part of the recreational marijuana market. More edibles means more incidents of accidental consumption, the most disturbing of which involve children. In 2013, the nonprofit Children’s Hospital Colorado saw eight patients who had consumed medical marijuana, and so far this year they’ve already seen 13.

“Most are toddlers,” Elizabeth Whitehead, a spokesperson for the hospital, told me over the phone. “Some …read more