Oregon’s Super-High Standards for Marijuana Edibles
If you’ve wandered into a cannabis dispensary any time since last October, when the advent of recreational sales made those visits possible, you’ve marveled at a galaxy of goodies: salted caramel chews made with organic cannabis oil, small-batch GMO-free ice cream from local milk, rosemary-and-cumin-spiced nuts, even marionberry coffee cake.
But unless a doctor has issued you a medical marijuana card, you salivate in vain: Oregon won’t let prospective psychonauts buy those treats just yet. Unlike in Colorado and Washington, our comrades in state-level legalization, Oregon’s recreational marijuana law kicked edibles down the road—probably until October 2016.
“Flowers are pretty straightforward,” explains Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s Recreational Marijuana Program. “Edibles require a little more examination.”
That’s putting it lightly. Oregon’s regulatory agencies are taming the Wild West of cannabis production with rules designed to control potency, restrict pesticides, and rein in the black market. Some are common sense, like requiring the Oregon Department of Agriculture to inspect kitchens, as they do for other food products. (Medical edibles have been on the market in Oregon for 17 years without any kind of health department inspection.) Other proposed rules seem less logical, like prohibiting two edibles manufactuers from working side by side in a commercial kitchen.
“You can share space as long as you’re not there at the same time as the other edibles person,” says Laurie Wolf, cofounder of Laurie & MaryJane Nut Mix. “It’s a pain in the ass. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Safety is an issue, too. Both Colorado and Washington saw a spike in emergency room cases due to accidental consumption of potent edibles by children or overconsumption by adult novices. Oregon will require edibles to be much weaker than those in the other states. Andi Bixel, CEO of Portland’s Drip Ice Cream, says her new line of treats will have no more than 10 to 15 milligrams of THC per container, making it more Bud Light than Jim Beam. While some in the industry complain that this is too low, Bixel, for one, is happy with the lower-potency requirements.
“Ice cream is one of those things you don’t want to be moderate with,” she says. “You want to eat the whole thing!”
3 Awesome Local Treats You Can’t Have (Yet)
Sour Bhotz Gummies: Eight flavors of robot-shaped gummies including watermelon, grape, and mango. $12–15
Drip Ice Cream: Bixel’s ice cream flavors include gooey chocolate brownie, honey with honeycomb candy, and “munchies” (vanilla malt with salted caramel swirl, chocolate flecks, and pretzel toffee). $7–12 per container
Laurie & MaryJane Nut Mix: Made by Oregon City residents Laurie Wolf and her daughter-in-law, Mary Wolf, these nuts won first place at the 2015 Dope Cup in the hotly contested “savory edibles” category. $18–20