State Senate passes child safety pot bill

Medical marijuana. Katharine Lotze/Signal

The State Senate unanimously voted in favor of Senator Henry Stern’s (D- Canoga Park) bill to protect children from accidentally consuming edible marijuana products.

Under Senate Bill 794, all baked goods and candy containing pot will be marked with a universal symbol, which the Bureau of Marijuana will design, and wrapped in child-resistant packaging.

“Our kids’ safety is on the line, and this bill would ensure the cannabis industry is held accountable for child-proofing their products,” Stern said at the hearing. “California cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of Colorado with the pending proliferation of recreational cannabis.”

This bill comes after California legalized recreational marijuana use with Proposition 64 in November 2016 as Colorado did in 2014. A study by JAMA Pediatrics found a 34 percent increase in marijuana poisoning for children in Colorado since then, Stern’s office cited.

Senator Henry Stern discusses Senate Bill 794 on Monday, April 24.

Paula Whiteman, pediatric emergency physician and representative from the American Academy of Pediatrics California, expressed support for the legislation.

“This bill would go a long way towards protecting children and teens from accidental marijuana ingestion, which can easily happen when marijuana edibles are mistaken for conventional baked goods or candies,” Whiteman said in a statement.

Additionally, President of the California Police Chiefs Association and Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano said in a statement that the bill will safeguard against potential illness, hospitalization and impaired driving because of accidental marijuana consumption.

“Requiring the use of a universal symbol to indicate that an edible product contains marijuana is an important step in educating the public at large,” Medrano said.

The bill will now go to the State Assembly.

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