CBS Wakes Up to the Dangers of 'Edible Pot,' Notes Deaths in Colorado

Ten days after touting the best marijuana in Colorado, CBS This Morning journalists woke up to some potential dangers for the state's decision to legalize pot. Gayle King on Wednesday informed viewers, "Colorado is rethinking the rules for pot-infused food this morning after two recent deaths." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Journalist Don Dahler explained, "Last month, a 19-year-old student jumped to his death off a Denver hotel balcony after friends said he ate a single marijuana cookie." Autopsy reports cited "marijuana intoxication" as a significant contributing factor.  He added, "In another case just this month, woman called 911 to say her husband had eaten pot candy and was hallucinating." The man later shot his wife. This type of coverage is a far cry from previous CBS This Morning stories. 

An April 21 segment hyped a convention to promote "all things pot" and included "an actual trophy" for the best marijuana. 

That story ignored a newly released study concluding that even casual marijuana use may damage your brain

In January, CBS promoted "cannabis capitalism" and "pot tours" for the "marijuana munchies." 

A transcript of the April 30th CBS This Morning segment is below: 


7:43

GAYLE KING: Colorado is rethinking the rules for pot-infused food this morning after two recent deaths. A voter induced ballot legalized recreational marijuana use in January. Don Dahler shows us how the Rocky Mountain state is uncharted territory. Don, good morning. 

CBS GRAPHIC: Edible Pot Dangers: Deaths Spark Effort to Rewrite Rules in Colorado

DON DAHLER: Good morning. Colorado's marijuana enforcement division meets later today with lawmakers and edible pot producers to discuss how much THC should be in a serving size. THC, of course, is the active ingredient in marijuana. Concern about regulation of so-called edibles come in the wake of two high-profile deaths linked to the products. Edible marijuana comes in many forms but labs that test the products say it's hard to know exactly what kind of buzz to expect. 

JOSEPH EVANS (Sleep Hill Halent Laboratory Director): Do you know if your marijuana is safe that you're buying? You really don't. 

GENIFER MURRAY (CannLabs Founder): I think there's been a misconception that all of this stuff has been tested and it hasn't. 

DAHLER: Last month, a 19-year-old student jumped to his death off a Denver hotel balcony after friends said he ate a single marijuana cookie. Tests showed it was the strength of six high quality joints. And the autopsy reports cites marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor. In another case just this month, woman called 911 to say her husband had eaten pot candy and was hallucinating. Denver authorities say he shot and killed her before the police could get there. 

DISPATCH AUDIO: According to the notes, he grabbed a gun and she screamed and the line disconnected. 

DAHLER: It's unclear if edible pot is to blame. But, this week the state will begin mandatory testing for potency. State lawmakers are also calling for new labeling rules to make sure users know what they're putting into their bodies and how it works. 

JONATHAN SINGER (D-Colorado state rep): What a lot of people do is they'll take a bite of a brownie and maybe that's a serving and they won't feel anything and so they'll take another bite and another bite and all of a sudden you've got an overdose situation. 

DAHLER: Colorado state representative Jonathan Singer was one of the only state legislators to endorse legalizing recreational marijuana back in 2012. But he wants to make sure it's regulated properly. Same as alcohol and prescription drugs. 

SINGER: We need to take the same steps as we did with those two drugs to make sure we're implementing marijuana in a way that's legal but also, more importantly, safe. 

DAHLER: Ten milligrams of THC is considered a serving size of the drug but Colorado has no requirements that edibles be packaged in single servings – at least for now. Norah? 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org