Marijuana edibles will wind up in children’s Halloween candy if Florida passes a law allowing the use of medical marijuana, says Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
As the Orlando Sentinel reports, Florida voters will vote next week on Amendment 2, which would allow the production, sale, and use of marijuana to those with a recommendation from their doctor — a so-called “medical marijuana” program. The Florida Sheriff’s Association opposes the bill.
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Surrounded by children dressed in their Halloween costumes, Demings expressed his concerns at a press conference last week.
“We are certainly concerned about trick-or-treating this year as well. Even though the potential for the marijuana edibles appearing this year may be somewhat minimal, it is still a threat in our community.”
So is Sheriff Demings correct, that Florida parents should be concerned about marijuana “edibles” turning up in their children’s Halloween candy? The answer depends largely on whom you ask, but from the available facts, the answer appears to be “probably not.”
Marijuana-infused food items, called “edibles” in the industry, are almost always sold in dispensaries as appealing treats: brownies, cookies, and, usually, candy. In fact, to the eyes of a small child — and to some adults — pot-infused candy looks convincingly like real candy.
“It looks like any other candy. Sometimes there’s just mean-spirited people who infuse these type of products into our society to create confusion and injure our children and other people.”
So does that mean that flaked-out or devious stoners are going to put pot candy in kids’ trick-or-treat baskets on Halloween? Unlikely, because those things are expensive. Edibles can cost as much as $10-15 per dose; no one is going to be giving it away for free.
Ben Pollara, director of United For Care, the pro-marijuana group that got Amendment 2 on the Florida ballot, agrees that the threat is overblown and based on rumor and fear.
“What Sheriff Demings is saying is completely unrealistic. It’s not grounded in fact or experience in the 25 other states and in [Washington] D.C. that already have medical marijuana.”
As of this writing, the number of known cases of marijuana edibles being handed out to trick-or-treating children is zero.
That’s not to say that there’s no danger from kids being accidentally exposed to pot via marijuana edibles. In fact, Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, has seen an increase in children being sent to emergency rooms from having ingested edible marijuana. However, those cases almost always involve kids who got into their parents’ stash, not kids who found pot candy in their Halloween haul.
In 2014, according to the Associated Press, 45 kids under the age of 8 got into their parents’ edibles and wound up in the emergency room.
The problem of ingesting pot edibles and getting sick is not limited to children, either. In fact, a fair share of adults have wound up in emergency rooms from pot edibles, too. The problem is the dosing: so potent are edibles that one small piece of candy — for example, a pot-infused gummy bear — is enough to get the user high. So a user who eats a handful of gummy bears, a whole pot chocolate bar, or a couple of pot brownies is going to over-ingest and wind up with symptoms of pot overdose. Those symptoms can include paranoia, psychosis, and elevated heart rate, among others.
Fortunately, the symptoms clear up on their own after a few hours and rarely require any medical intervention.
Do you agree with Florida Sheriff Jerry Demings that marijuana edibles could endanger kids at Halloween?
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