Every single time I mention cannabis-infused confections to someone, the first thing they say is, “What if kids eat them accidentally?” To which I usually respond, well they make candy vitamins that can be dangerous in excess, and we’ve mostly managed to come up with child proof packaging that keeps kids safe from those.
That’s then followed-up with, “Well what if adults give edibles to kids on purpose?”
And my response there is that I’ve never heard of a marijuana user who wanted to give away any of their (usually expensive) supply of edibles. Kids probably aren’t going to get edibles when they go trick-or-treating mainly because adults aren’t going to want to spend that kind of money on trick-or-treaters.
But every time I Google News the word “candy” these days, I see a list of articles about kids eating cannabis-infused confections and getting sick from them.
Just this week, "A 13-year-old girl has been accused of giving edible marijuana gummy bears to some classmates at her school, causing another girl to be hospitalized," according to a CBS local news report out of New Jersey.
Apparently, “The girl was taken to a hospital and told... police a classmate had given her a gummy bear that supposedly would ‘stop her from stressing out.’”
Meanwhile, in Georgia, 28 middle school kids were hospitalized this week after eating candy that was likely laced with a trace of PCP and liquid marijuana, according to a report by WSB-TV out of Atlanta.
And earlier this month in Ohio, “More than a dozen students at an elementary school in Cleveland were admitted to the hospital after being exposed to gummy candy that police say contained marijuana,” according to a report from KTLA.
Those were just the ones that came up from a quick Google search. There are likely many more.
So yes, there are major safety concerns about cannabis-infused confections.
Now is the time to address it though. Ideally, the confectionery industry would start working together on ways to protect against this now, rather than waiting until marijuana is legal in all 50 states, and the market is flooded with edibles.
The obvious first step is child-proof packaging options like the ones created by AssurePack, which are pictured above. But going a step further, the industry needs to create child-proof packaging regulations that companies could adhere to and then advertise their participation in. Coming out with a research-based, comprehensive set of guidelines now would likely go a long way to helping manufacturers navigate this. And allowing manufacturers to say they meet the “Safe Kids” guidelines on their packaging — or something along those lines — would help both candy makers and consumers.
That's not enough though. Every example in this article involved older kids eating edibles, well past the age when child-proof packaging would make a difference. So, the next step would be an industry-sponsored public service campaign that dovetails with an agreement that edible manufacturers won’t market their products to children in anyway — be it with advertising or packaging. It could even be similar to the “Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative.”
The worst thing the edibles industry could do though is ignore this issue — because confectionery edibles are on the market, and it’s unlikely they’ll suddenly be made illegal again anytime soon. In fact, it’s a lot more likely the sector will only continue to grow.