A San Diego City Council committee is considering banning edible marijuana products like cookies and brownies as well as the by-products of the plant such as hash oil.
City Councilmember Marti Emerald wants to ban edibles and hashish oils from being sold out of medical marijuana dispensaries.
She told NBC 7 she’s concerned about the safety of hash oil and food products such as brownies and lollipops.
Until there is government oversight, Emerald said, the products should be pulled off dispensary shelves.
“I think we need to have a safety net for consumers,” Emerald said. “Especially the sick, vulnerable patients who go to these stores, who look for something to relieve symptoms.”
“Here we have a growing industry that is making a considerable profit off food products and various by products of marijuana, and no government entity is watching,” she added.
Emerald is concerned that marijuana brownies and cookies could cause salmonella poisoning, just for starters. She also worries that not enough is known about what is in the hash oil.
However, medical marijuana advocates argue that the edibles and hash oil are the very alternatives used by the sickest of patients who can't or don’t want to smoke it.
Medicinal marijuana advocate Cynara Velazquez believes an outright ban is not the answer.
“In the meantime who suffers?” Velazquez asked. “People with MS, children whose epilepsy is being controlled by this. I don’t think banning is the right thing to do for something that cannot cause death by overdose.”
Advocates said they are offering a version of regulations that local leaders can consider adopting until the state issues its own regulations. The issue was discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.
“Who is going to be hurt by this ban are the patients who don't smoke, who are really sick and don't use it as a recreational drug,” said one speaker at the meeting.
Meanwhile, another speaker agreed with Emerald, saying we would all be shocked if we saw how filthy some of the “pot shops” are
The ban did not make it out of committee, but an ordinance on medical marijuana dealing with permits and business taxes will go before the full San Diego City Council in November.
A spokesperson for Emerald said she could bring up the ban again at that time, if the state of California does not do something to address the lack of regulations before then.