Trick or Treat? Officials Highlight Dangers of Edible Marijuana Products
By Space Coast Daily // October 24, 2016
ABOVE VIDEO: Medical marijuana placed on Florida’s 2016 November ballot.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Officials came together toady to warn that Florida children who go door to door for candy on Halloween may one day be at risk of receiving edible marijuana products if Amendment 2 comes to pass.
This scary scenario isn’t the plot of an upcoming horror movie. According to medical and law enforcement officials, it’s a very real scenario playing out in states like California, Washington and Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized.
“Allowing edible marijuana products to fall into the hands of kids is an unintended consequence of the marijuana industry,” said Dr. Alfred Aleguas, Managing Director of the Florida Poison Control Center in Tampa.
“Marijuana edibles create a huge problem because they are infused with high potency THC. Kids could mistake edible marijuana for regular food or candy and eat it unknowingly, putting them at a higher risk based on their size and weight. Young children who consume these high-potency marijuana edibles may require hospital admission due to the severity of their symptoms” warned Dr. Aleguas.
“Also, ingesting marijuana doesn’t produce the immediate high that one gets when smoking a joint, causing some users to overconsume thinking they didn’t eat enough to get high. This has also led to increased emergency room visits in states where marijuana edibles were legalized,” Dr. Aleguas concluded.
Florida’s proposed Amendment 2 could create these dangers in our state. It mandates that the marijuana industry be allowed to deal in food products containing marijuana, so lawmakers could not ban the sale of marijuana edibles.
Any attempt by lawmakers to restrict marketing and sales of marijuana edibles, including those that are attractive to children like cookies, brownies and candies, is likely to be legally challenged and invalidated in court as unreasonable or not consistent with the right that Amendment 2 expressly creates.
“Amendment 2 not only legalizes the sale and use of pot – it legalizes an entire pot industry that will be advertised and promoted, and have very little administrative oversight” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Florida Sheriffs Association president and member of the Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot Coalition.
“After other states approved legislation, they saw a surge in marijuana edible products that are clearly attractive to children. Advertised and marketed in commonly recognized edibles such as lollipops, candy bars, Pot-Tarts, and Krondike Bars. They may have warning labels, but does a six year old really know the difference or read a label before grabbing and eating a product which is attractively marketed the same as consumables for their young age group?” Demings asked
According to data released in September by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area titled The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 4, the number of children in Colorado who’ve been treated by hospitals for unintentional marijuana exposures annually has spiked since the state legalized marijuana.
According to the report nearly half of the hospital visits since 2009 involved marijuana edibles such as brownies and candies.
“It is almost impossible for anyone, let alone a child, to tell a marijuana gummy bear or cookie from the real thing. This mistaken identity has resulted in a dramatic increase in ER visits and calls to poison control from accidental ingestion in states where marijuana has been legalized, normalized and commercialized. With Halloween coming in a few days, it really gives us pause to think how dangerous this could be for our children!” said drug policy expert and Drug Free America Foundation Executive Director Calvina Fay.
“Medical marijuana states have higher youth use rates and abuse/dependence rates; almost twice as high as states without such laws. According to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, past 30 day use of marijuana by 8th, 10th and 12th graders in our state is slightly higher than the national average and use rates have remained consistent with the previous year’s report. Flooding the market with marijuana cookies and candies and normalizing pot’s use is likely to push these rates up, having a negative impact on the physical and mental health of our youth, as well as their interactions with peers and academic success,” Fay said.
“The challenges presented by legalizing marijuana have been widely noted across the country. If you are a parent of a child, you should be aware that Amendment 2 will open the floodgates and expose our children to an enormous risk in the form of edible marijuana,” Fay concluded.
The Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot (www.DontLetFloridaGoToPot.com) coalition is a statewide public information campaign including organizations such as the Florida Medical Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, the Florida Trucking Association and Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. The coalition is a collective effort of local and state organizations working together to educate Floridians on the dangers of marijuana and efforts to allow a legal marijuana industry to thrive in Florida. It is conducting an educational campaign on problems it sees with Amendment 2 which will be on the Florida ballot in November.