Every year as children dressed in costumes head out for trick-or-treating, parents are told by various official sources to look for dangerous or poisonous Halloween candy. Sometimes the dire message is about hazardous objects like razor blades, while other times it is about drugs like ecstasy hidden inside sweet Halloween treats. Of course, 2017 is no exception.
With an increasing number of states legalizing marijuana, some news outlets and law enforcement agencies are worried children will come home after trick-or-treating with cannabis edibles cleverly disguised as innocent candy. News station Fox 29 in New Jersey sent out one of many recent reports cautioning parents about weed edibles camouflaged as Halloween treats.
“Parents need to be aware and check for unusual candy packaging. If they suspect their child has received marijuana candy they should immediately contact their local police department,” explained Jim Jefferson, speaking for the Gloucester County Addictions Task Force.
According to the report, marijuana candy packaging can often mimic regular candy labels, making it easy to mistake for non-drugged confections. Even the smell of weed edibles can be similar, so candy must be inspected very carefully, the warning continues.
While it is obvious the media reports are well-intentioned, the possibility of a child coming home after trick-or-treating with marijuana-laced Halloween candy is extremely unlikely.
According to the LA Times, legal cannabis advocates say these warnings are really nothing more than Halloween scare tactics from groups that oppose legalization of the drug. Evan Nison, with cannabis legalization support group NORML, says these reports are common every year and nothing ever happens.
“Cannabis consumers are not looking to dose children with cannabis. That is not something that I’ve ever heard of anybody ever being interested in doing or wanting to do or would think is ethical.”
While a somewhat deranged person giving out free pot to children on Halloween might sound plausible, it likely isn’t going to happen. Medical marijuana programs have been in existence for decades and recreational pot is legal in eight states, yet there is absolutely no evidence of weed edibles ever being discovered in a child’s trick-or-treat bag. Still, children are getting access to the drug.
In Colorado, a state that legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, there have been 16 cases of young children visiting the emergency room after inadvertently ingesting marijuana edibles. In response, the state revised the rules for cannabis-infused food packaging earlier this year. Yet, none of the children got the cannabis candy on Halloween.
Proponents of marijuana legalization believe the ominous Halloween candy warnings are the new “razor blades in the apples” urban myth that has propagated for decades without any substance behind them. Besides cannabis, other dangerous items believed to be quietly lurking in trick-or-treat bags include bath salts, needles, and, broken glass.
Government and law enforcement officials that issue the notices acknowledge that a child receiving a marijuana edible in a trick-or-treat bag is highly improbable. Nonetheless, they point out that the similarity in packaging, color, smell, and shape of the drug-laced candy to normal treats is enough justification to warn parents about the possibility.
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