Armed with what can only be described as willful ignorance, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd went to Colorado to sample some marijuana edibles. She chose to follow none of the basic advice you can find after a two minute web search, took way too much, and proceeded to have a very bad time. From NYT:
But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.
This incident shows two things. First, it is a reminder of how relatively safe marijuana is. Even when you consume way more than you should the worst that normally happens is an unpleasant evening in bed. By comparison if you consume way too much alcohol you die.
More importantly, it shows the world is full of idiots and idiots come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Even supposedly very smart New York Times columnists can often be idiots. Almost anyone can be an idiot at least occasionally.
If legalization advocates want to avoid a potential political backlash the regulations don’t just need to be sensible and easy for a regular person to understand, they need to be idiot-proof. They need to be so clear that even someone who goes to buy edibles with a Maureen Dowd level of ignorance can’t say they misinterpreted the instructions.