My adult beverage of choice for several years now has been “Blue Moon” beer, in part because every glass is served with a big slice of orange to help meet my minimum daily servings of fruits and vegetables. I rarely indulge alone as I am what they call a “social drinker,” meaning I am not the one found alone at the end of the bar staring into my glass. Beer and wine, as we all know, is best shared with friends and associates over good music or conversation. People drinking or taking drugs alone always paint a sad picture for me. How many movies have we all seen where the most depressing scene is when a main character goes off alone with one of those rubber tubes and a needle to do hard drugs? We close our eyes or turn away. Here in Colorado, we are a little more than five months into our great marijuana experiment. We have about 50 new manufacturing businesses making foods infused with THC, marijuana’s potent ingredient. In addition to basic food safety violations, these manufacturers are having difficulty with edible marijuana dosages. Hitting the overall product and piece dosages is proving to not be all that easy. Colorado lawmakers have demanded that regulators get these problems worked out so that one or two pieces of marijuana-infused candy doesn’t get the entire THC concentration, while the rest of the product goes without. Those problems can probably be overcome, but now the marijuana experiment has produced another problem, and this one could be more serious. It involves how Colorado’s rules for legal marijuana are impacting visitors, especially those who are traveling alone. Visitors are having a hard time getting their heads around the fact that, while sales and possession are legal, smoking or indulging in those edibles is not permitted almost everywhere, nor should the visitor think about taking their purchase home. Crossing state lines with Colorado marijuana can land the visitor in jail. Whereas residents can retreat to the privacy of their own homes, visitors quickly find out that places like city parks (Red Rocks), federal land (Rocky Mountain National Park), and ski areas (Aspen, Vail, etc.) are all off-limits. Smoking anything is problematic these days. No one wants to pay a smoking penalty to a rental car company or a hotel. (A few hotels are making exceptions for marijuana.) That’s why edibles are popular with visitors — they are easier to conceal and consume. But here’s the problem: Does Colorado want to be known as the place where women slip off to their hotel rooms for a solo high? Think of the last magazine advertisement you saw from the Colorado ski industry. It probably had a big group of happy people just off the slopes or attending a summer music festival. A single visitor alone in their room is pretty depressing and just might not be the image Colorado wants and needs. But there was New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd last week, writing about being alone in her Denver hotel room with a marijuana-infused chocolate bar. She’s faced all sorts of ridicule and other criticism for it, but I give her credit. After all, writers write and she opened the window and let us all look in at what happened to her during the experience. Dowd did what thousands of other visitors have done during the past five-plus months. While visiting Denver, she purchased a marijuana-infused candy bar and retreated to the safety of her hotel room to try it. She did not know about the medical advice to “start low and go slow.” She did not know about THC dosing. “When nothing happened, nibbled some more,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist wrote. Before long, it caught up with her. “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.” Welcome to the Mile High City, Ms. Dowd. “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,” she continued. Her column exploded on the Internet last week with all sorts of comments, parodies, and the like. She moved from her own experience to the dosing problems with edibles, as we’ve covered in Food Safety News, and the state has now admitted there are problems with dosing, distribution of THC in edible products, and even adhering to normal food safety protocols. But I think Ms. Dowd’s column addressed a problem in and of itself. Do we really want visitors to Colorado feeling like they are only safe consuming marijuana-infused food alone in their rooms? Five-plus months into the experiment, and the only problems we’ve heard about involve edibles. Because marijuana cannot be consumed in any form on public property or in any establishment open to the public, what does Colorado expect visitors to do? It’s turning out that the experiment is pointing them toward edibles and away from the smoking weed options because they cannot find a place to use it. So, like Ms. Dowd, they are going to their rooms, often alone. If Ms. Dowd could have taken her marijuana-infused candy bar to some kind of a social event, someone could have schooled her about the dosing and she could have avoided going through what seemed like a near-death experience. Few states have as much riding on a year-round tourism industry as does Colorado. So the state needs to come up with ways to make this new marijuana experiment as much of a social event for visitors as it is for residents. The lessons of the first five months are that the state needs to tighten up on product control, but it can still loosen up a bit on visitors.