Citing research done after new regulations required child-resistant packaging for medications like aspirin, the researchers say Colorado could see a 45 percent drop in accidental marijuana ingestions by using similar packages. State regulators could further discourage accidental consumption by requiring that the packaging be opaque.
"Everything should be leaving dispensaries in approved child-resistant packaging," said Gregory Tung, an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, part of the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus.
The report, which was released this week with the endorsement of several medical-marijuana businesses, appears to have gotten the attention of officials writing the final rules for Colorado's recreational marijuana stores. After including a less precise requirement for child-resistant packaging in earlier drafts of the proposed rules, regulators updated the draft this week to include language very similar to what Tung and his colleagues have recommended.
The draft rules for packaging were reviewed Wednesday during rule-making hearings. The hearings, scheduled to run through Thursday, wrapped up a day early Wednesday. Written comments on the proposed rules will be accepted through Tuesday.
Accidental ingestion of marijuana by children is among the biggest post-legalization concerns for marijuana skeptics and advocates alike. After the proliferation of medical-marijuana dispensaries, Colorado saw an increase in emergency room visits by children who had ingested pot.
Jodi Duke, another of the report's authors, said child-resistant packages for marijuana could take many forms, such as pill bottles or baggies with special locking zippers. Marijuana and cannabis-infused products could still be displayed openly in pot shops, Duke said. They would just have to be placed into the child-resistant packages before leaving the store.