- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Saying that pregnant and nursing women need additional education about marijuana, the Colorado House gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill requiring warnings to be posted in pot shops.

If approved, the maternal pot warnings would be the first of their kind required in any state with legal marijuana sales.

An earlier version of the bill was rejected amid disagreement over how to describe the risk marijuana poses to unborn and nursing children. The version approved Monday directs state health authorities to come up with warnings. The exact language of the signs hasn’t been determined.

“It’s about providing important health information to people, specifically pregnant women, about something very important and potentially detrimental to the health and safety and future welfare of their unborn child,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jack Tate, R-Centennial.

The bill had bipartisan support but some opposition. Some wondered whether the requirement would violate the voters’ direction to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Although liquor products must include warnings for pregnant women, liquor stores aren’t required to post warnings in Colorado.

“We’re going to be treating this industry different than alcohol,” warned Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.

Recreational pot sold in Colorado already comes with warnings for pregnant women. Among other things, the labels say, “There may be additional health risks associated with the consumption of this product for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning on becoming pregnant.”

But label warnings aren’t required for medical marijuana products.

A report issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment earlier this year noted that marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, is passed to children through the placenta and breast milk. But the doctors who compiled the survey of existing research also noted that the health consequences of that THC exposure aren’t fully understood.

An American Academy of Pediatrics report in 2013 listed marijuana among the most common drugs involved in prenatal exposure that may pose important health risks, including possible behavior and attention problems in childhood.

One more House vote is required before the bill heads to the Senate.

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Online:

House Bill 1298: http://bit.ly/19BA4U3

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