6 Most Hilarious Pot Freak-Outs
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A Twitter storm raged around Maureen Dowd this week following the publication of her New York Times column questioning the safety of Colorado’s legal pot market. In the column, she describes her bad experience eating an edible cannabis candy bar in Denver. She writes about experiencing eight hours of a “paranoid,” “hallucinatory” state. She frets about Colorado, "unleashing a drug as potent as marijuana on a horde of tourists of all ages and tolerance levels seeking a mellow buzz."
In the article Dowd admits to waiting an hour after eating a first piece of the candy bar, and when she didn't feel anything, eating more. She claims she wasn’t warned properly about the potentially overwhelming effects of edibles. However, Matt Brown, founder of My 420 Tours has come out and said he took Dowd on a four-hour, behind-the-scenes tour of a cannabis factory prior to her edibles experience.
He reportedly told the Cannabist that during the tour they discussed edibles in detail and he explained how they affect everyone differently.
“She got the warning,” he said to the Cannabist. “In the context of covering all the bases with a customer, we really went into depth to tell this reporter, who would then tell the world, about marijuana in Colorado."
But while Dowd’s column may be emotionally exaggerated, she raises some important points throughout; points the nonprofit legalization advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has been considering for some time, according to the group’s spokesperson, Mason Tvert.
Tvert called Dowd’s concerns “generally legitimate” and said MPP, which played a major role in Colorado’s cannabis legalization process, wants the legislature to address several of the issues Dowd brings up in the column. Those include the necessity of improving labeling on cannabis products, lowering the individual serving size per cannabis product, and limiting servings per unit.
When someone like Dowd, based on a frightening personal experience, voices her (relatively logical) concerns, larger systemic issues are exposed.
As Brown told the Cannabist, "All of the problems that happened in her hotel room as she's breaking off pieces of the infused candy bar … there's something missing. When she was learning how to drink alcohol she could have seen other adults using moderation and other adults in bars puking and making an ass out of themselves, because it's enjoyed communally and legally in bars. How do we have events and hotel rooms that are more open to this?"
Whether or not it was completely realistic, Dowd’s account highlights the importance of developing better public education. In the wake of the tragic death of a college student on spring break in Denver, I wrote a piece detailing how better labeling requirements and realistic public education are vital to the future of legal pot. Because it’s been prohibited and demonized unrealistically for so long, the general public perception of the herb is skewed in one direction or another. For example, few realize that, while there is no such thing as a deadly cannabis overdose (eating or inhaling it has never killed anyone), it can be psychologically traumatic to consume too much at once.
For that article, I spoke with Alec Dixon of Santa Cruz, Calif., who works at SC Labs, which tests cannabis samples for possible contaminants like pesticides and foodborne germs. Dixon also works as an educator for medical marijuana patients in the area. One of the main things he teaches people is not to consume edibles the first time they use marijuana. If they must start out with edibles, he tells them to take it slow and make sure they know how much they’re taking.