The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wants parents to be on the lookout for marijuana-containing candy that could make its way into children’s trick-or-treat bags, according to ABC News station KABC.
The department recently confiscated a number of different foods made with the drug from local marijuana dispensaries, including soda, candy and snacks.
While the sheriff’s department didn’t know of anyone who handed out marijuana-containing treats to trick-or-treaters in the past, they wanted people to know the foods were out there and not always easy to spot.
“If it doesn’t have a recognizable label on it,” said Sgt. Glenn Walsh. “If it’s not a recognizable brand, it should be considered at least potentially dangerous to the children.”
Even if items are labeled and indicate marijuana is an ingredient, once the label is removed, it’s difficult to tell the drug is in there. One possible way to tell that the food contains marijuana is by a pungent odor or an odd taste, Walsh said.
“It doesn’t smell like straight bud,” Walsh said, “but it has an odor to it consistent with marijuana, that skunk smell.”
Parents should inspect the candy their children bring home, he advised. He added that parents should be aware of the signs that kids may have ingested marijuana-laced treats, including disorientation, possible confusion, dilation of the pupils, difficulty breathing, a rapid pulse rate and sweating.
But symptoms can vary, depending on factors such as a child’s weight, the drug’s potency and how much the child ingests.
“Kids may become giddy, constantly repetitive, they may stare off in space, may have some hallucinations,” Dr. Thomas Abramo, a professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., told ABC News back in March.
Abramo also said one of the biggest problems with foods that contain marijuana is they often contain very potent marijuana, and kids may not realize just how much they’re consuming.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a pro-medical marijuana advocacy group, said any suggestion that edible marijuana products could end up in children’s hands on Halloween is unreasonable.
“There’s never been an example of it actually happening,” said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the group. “Medical marijuana providers provide edible medication to people who can’t necessarily smoke it.” He accused the police of trying to “scare and intimidate the community.”
While the police have issued the same warning in the past, this year, it comes a few weeks after the U.S. Justice Department issued a crackdown on dispensaries illegally distributing marijuana.