Packaging needs to be Dowd-proof.

When I read Maureen Dowd’s column about consuming marijuana edibles I just thought she was being remarkably careless purchasing and consuming a substance for the first time without doing any research about how much to take it, but it turns out she was actually willfully stupid.

The Cannabist spoke with her marijuana tourism guide, Matt Brown, and it turns out she was given extensive information about her purchase and how to use it. From the Cannabist:

“She got the warning,” Brown said. “She did what all the reporters did. She listened. She bought some samples — I don’t remember what exactly. Me and the owner of the dispensary we were at and the assistant manager and the budtender talked with her for 45 minutes at the shop.

“It wasn’t all, ‘Be careful of edibles.’ We talked about the difference between shatter and bubble hash. We talked about edibles and how they affect everyone differently. In the context of covering all the bases with a customer, we really went into depth to tell this reporter, who would then tell the world, about marijuana in Colorado.

I feel this new detail makes my original point even stronger. Even after an extensive conversation with an expert, the owner, and a budtender, Dowd still acted like an idiot by ingesting way too much.

This shows that even having well-trained marijuana store employees explain their products or hand out informational pamphlets to new consumers is not enough, because some percent of the population is always going to act like idiots.

While Dowd acted very irresponsibly, as a society we need to accept some percent of people are going to act carelessly so we should set up the rules accordingly. Even people who are supposedly smart and well-educated will occasionally act really stupid.

What is needed to stop people from accidentally over-consuming and causing a possible political backlash is to make the packaging of marijuana edibles truly idiot-proof [or Dowd-proof]. The warning, instructions, and serving sizes must be so explicitly clear so that even an idiot can understand them.

These packaging regulations shouldn’t be written with a reasonable person in mind, because they will act prudently regardless. They should be written for people who act like idiots, because they are the ones who need them. Dowd shows why this is necessary.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by Artwi under Creative Commons license