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Marijuana-infused snacks raise issues in Colorado

February 5, 2014
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Although marijuana-infused snacks and products are now legal in Colorado, the sale and consumption of these items to those under 21 is not. However, stores say these items are “flying off the shelves” and a New York Times article has reported that young people, many who are toddlers, are consuming marijuana in some form.

The article says that the number of emergency room visits by children who have accidentally consumed marijuana is low, but it is growing, and that is cause for concern. Many parents take their children into the emergency room after noticing the child acting unusually sleepy, disoriented, or having trouble breathing. The research, according to the article, took place before marijuana was legalized for those 21 and over in Colorado, but after medical marijuana shops began to spring up in large numbers in the area. This makes me wonder, what does the scene look like now?

What else do you think can be done to prevent kids from consuming these snacks by accident? Colorado has ordered stores to sell such products in packages that are child-resistant (although, I’m sure someone who is above the age of six could figure out how to open a package). Another restriction the state has set out is that the labels cannot be designed to appeal to children. However, if the packages are clear and show colorful candy inside, how does that not appeal to children (take a look at the photo in the NY Times article)? Colorado also requires manufacturers to label packages with all  ingredients, serving sizes and expiration dates (but let’s be serious, how many kids do you know that read ingredients on candy and snacks they are eating?)

Many teenagers are consuming these products as well (usually full aware of what they are consuming) in order to get the effects of marijuana, a subtle high. The snacks include the traditional “pot brownies,” and other items such as watermelon candies, sparkling peach and mandarin drinks, and chocolate truffles.

It seems that the rules Colorado has set are a good start, but still are somehow not enough. Of course this is another thing for parents, teachers, and anyone else who is around children on a regular basis should be aware of and looking out for. I’m curious what you, in the treatment programs out there, have to say about this. What do you think can be done to help this issue? Have you had any experiences so far with this topic? Post a comment on this page or email me at sbrys@vendomegrp.com

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Shannon Brys