How four U.S. states are regulating recreational marijuana edibles

Int J Drug Policy. 2017 May;43:83-90. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.01.018. Epub 2017 Mar 23.


Background: Sales of edible marijuana products have been strong in Colorado and Washington State since the legalization of recreational marijuana. Initially, these states did not have comprehensive labelling or packaging requirements in place. In response to increases in marijuana-related emergency room visits and poison control centre calls, additional regulations were implemented. Currently, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington each have passed into law various labelling and packaging requirements for edibles.

Methods: This article presents the primary legal research findings of relevant statutes and regulations for edibles in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. These laws were identified by using Boolean terms and connectors searches in these states' legal databases in LexisNexis.

Results: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington vary greatly in how they regulate labelling and packaging. Colorado, Oregon and Washington require a Universal Symbol to be affixed to edibles, but only Oregon and Washington require that the use of pesticides be disclosed on the label. Only Colorado and Oregon require that the packaging for edibles bear a Nutrition Facts Panel on the label. Δ9-Tetrahydracannabinol (THC) in a single serving or single edible product as Alaska and Oregon. All four states prohibit the manufacture or packaging of edibles that appeal to youth.

Conclusion: State laws governing recreational marijuana edibles have evolved since the first recreational edible products were available for sale. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now require edible product labels to disclose a variety of product information, including risk factors associated with consumption. However, there still remain concerns about the regulatory gaps that exist in each of these states, inherent difficulties in enforcing laws around the labelling, packaging, and manufacturing of edibles, and the outstanding question of whether these edible laws are actually informing consumers and keeping the public safe.

Keywords: Cannabis policy; Drug policy; Edible; Labelling and packaging; Marijuana laws.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • Marijuana Use / adverse effects
  • Marijuana Use / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Product Labeling / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Product Packaging / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Risk
  • United States


  • Dronabinol