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Pot-Laced Candy: Tempting And Dangerous For Kids


Sweets laced with marijuana. Police are seeing more cases of pot-laced cookies and candies made and sold in states where recreational use of marijuana is allowed, and then imported into states like Texas where marijuana remains illegal. Moreover, they look like the kind of regular treats kids would consume.

Highlights from the interview about pot-laced candy with Dr. Shannon Rickner, a toxicologist with the North Texas Poison Center based at Parkland Hospital in Dallas:

What exactly is pot-laced candy? “It’s chocolates, cookies or some other candies that have marijuana mixed in or they have the oil, the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC for short, that is directly infused into the candy itself. There are recommendations that single servings contain no more than a certain amount of milligrams, but any individual cookie – a small cookie – may have up to eight servings in it.”

Is it intended mostly for recreational use? “The candies have been used as an alternate way to have the effects that the medical marijuana would have, but in states where it has been decriminalized, you could even go to a local café and consume it that way.

Dangers to children:  “It’s impossible to tell a gummy bear that has THC in it from a gummy bear that is the normal type of candy that a child would want to eat. In looking at the Texas data, we have had a fairly sharp uptick in 2014 and 2015 of the number of kids younger than age five who have accidentally gotten into these substances.”

Effect of one serving on a child: “As children age, the places that THC will distribute, particularly into the brain, increases as well. The younger the kid, the smaller the kid, the more likely that they’re going to be getting what would be considered getting a toxic dose or too much for their bodies. So we are seeing a little bit more severe consequences the younger kids that do get exposed.”

For more information:

Colorado lawmaker aims to outlaw pot-laced gummy bears 

After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High

Marijuana 'edibles' pack a wallop 

Surge in children accidentally eating marijuana-laced foods: Relaxed Colorado drug laws behind trend 

Pediatric Marijuana Exposures in a Medical Marijuana State

Half-Baked — The Retail Promotion of Marijuana Edibles 

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.