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Marijuana edibles: One entrepreneur's solution to keeping them away from kids -- and pets

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Part of leading the way in marijuana-reform includes dealing with issues as they arise, and the accidental ingestion of pot edibles has become a hot topic since Colorado legalized limited recreational marijuana use and possession by adults 21 and above. Legislators have been trying to fix the problem, but innovation may provide the quicker solution. And that's where Anonymous Bags comes in.

Anonymous Bags, a Broomfield-based company, has created lockable, discreet containers to keep children, pets and anyone trying to pinch your stash at a distance. Laboratory-tested and approved as child-resistant by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (which means children five and under can't open them), Anonymous Bags feature a lockable zipper with an insulated lining to keep children and pets away.

"Alcohol, with maybe the exception of wine coolers, doesn't look or taste like drinks children consume, but brownies, candy and cookies are all very much in their wheelhouse," says John Patterson, owner of Anonymous Bags. "They need a more secure way to store them out of reach."

Patterson says he developed his lockable case for traveling with his diabetes medication, but quickly saw the void that his product could fill in Colorado.

"I started this a few years ago, but now, after marijuana's become recreational, this could help prevent a lot of unfortunate situations," he says.

This year, for example, Children's Hospital Colorado spokeswoman Elizabeth Whitehead says the CHC has treated nine children who ingested edible marijuana as of May 27, compared to eight for all of 2013.

"Most of these incidents involved young children of toddler age, and many of the symptoms required hospital admission," Whitehead noted via e-mail. "These symptoms varied anywhere from mild sleepiness, to poor respiratory effort, to coma requiring insertion of a breathing tube."

Colorado lawmakers have taken the situation very seriously. On May 21 at Children's Hospital, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill regulatory bill focusing on edibles packaging, and the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division recently suggested that each 10-milligram serving of THC be packaged individually.

Pets also run the risk of getting more than they bargained for when they eat a pot brownie. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Poison Control Center, Colorado has made as many emergency calls (six) for pets ingesting weed this year as it did in 2013, and Washington has already had ten calls for the same reason, compared to nine in 2013. ASPCA spokeswoman Mallory Kerley also points out that many people take their pets straight to the vet instead of calling poison control first.

While the packaging and selling of edibles continues to be a hot topic in Colorado, companies like Anonymous Bags could put a lock on at least one part of the problem.

From our archives: "Marijuana edibles: Should retailers be required to package individual serving sizes?"

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