State Rep. Wants to Stop Certain Marijuana-Laced Foods From Being Sold
As the debates and discussions about the future of the medical marijuana industry continue in Massachusetts, some state officials are trying to keep certain pot-infused products from hitting the shelves once dispensaries start popping up around the state.
During a budget discussion on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, State Representative Peter Durant, R-Spencer, managed to slip in an amendment that would bar the manufacturing, packaging, and sale of marijuana and synthetic marijuana in products that are similar to snacks and foods that are popular on the market, and in some cases specifically target kids. “This particular issue illustrates a very dangerous phenomenon that has been occurring in other states where medical marijuana is legal,” Durant said. “I am proud that we were able to work in a bipartisan fashion to prevent the production and distribution of marijuana in forms that are intentionally meant to deceive consumers and which are targeted at our children.”
During a presentation at the budget hearing, Durant used posters of products like “Pot Tarts,” which closely resemble packaging for the breakfast pastry “Pop Tarts,” and “MunchyWays,” a pot-infused candy bar that mimics the “Milky Way” candy bar logo to push its product to consumers. After the meeting, Durant referred to the used of these tactics as “disgusting” and a “tremendous threat to our neighborhoods.”
Last fall, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly supported a ballot petition to legalize medical marijuana in the state. As part of that decision, the Department of Public Health has been tasked with crafting rules and regulations regarding the sale of certain pot products, as well as where dispensaries that sell those products can be set up. A draft version of the rules was released in March, and is currently being tweaked by officials. Durant hopes that as part of the final rules, this ban on deceiving marijuana-laced products will be included.
The House or Representatives voted in favor of adopting the budget amendment submitted by Durant, which will now go to the Senate for review.
According to Joseph McKenna, Durant’s chief of staff, the state representative’s office will “heavily lobby” for the wording to remain unchanged once it lands in the Senate’s lap. “There will be a conference committee to negotiate the two versions, and there, too, we will lobby to have this language put out there,” he says. “The DPH is crafting the rules and regulations right now, and we have confidence they will do that with the public’s best interest in mind. But we do not want these candies to be sold. There is no denial that these are candied marijuana targeted at the youth. We don’t want them to slip through the cracks.”
On Wednesday, mayors from across the Commonwealth met to discuss the future of the pot industry in the state. According to Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, the discussion revolved around the proposed state regulations for medical marijuana, and included members of the Department of Public Health. She said they were “trying to weed out concerns in advance.”
While medical marijuana is legalized in Massachusetts, it is not legal on a federal level, and in the past, the Drug Enforcement Agency has raided, and arrested, those who manufactured “drug candy” at distribution plants.