Legalized marijuana in Colorado is leading to problems for beginners who take too much, too quickly, and freak out. Including The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd:
The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.
Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.
What could go wrong with a bite or two?
Everything, as it turned out.
Not at first. For an hour, I felt nothing. I figured I’d order dinner from room service and return to my more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand.
But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.
Dowd goes on to describe pot-users who murdered family members under the influence. Maybe Reefer Madness wasn’t crazy.
The marijuana industry needs to put in place sensible programs for education and labeling. And if the industry doesn’t do it, government needs to step in.
Marijuana should be legal everywhere, but let’s remember that the alcohol and gambling industries have not exactly proven unalloyed benefits for society.