Debunking Cannabis Rumors This Halloween

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Adults illegally handing out cannabis candy on Halloween. Trick-or-treaters eating THC-laced candy and falling horribly ill. Marijuana edibles looking eerily similar to classic Halloween sweets.

Ahead of past few Halloween holidays, these were some of the most common rumors circulating among parents. No one wants their child to unknowingly ingest THC. In Florida, parents were warned of "marijuana gummi bears" given to trick-or-treaters. In other places, officials claimed an imminent threat to kids' safety due to hidden medicated sweets. To some, the candy had evolved into something sinister. Infused candies had become an updated version of the razor-blades-in-apples panic: seemingly rare but troubling nonetheless.

According to available evidence, this link between Halloween treats and cannabis-infused candies is simply nonexistent. Of course, children have accidentally ingested THC edibles before. As we move forward, we should absolutely prevent this from happening. But so far, trick-or-treaters specifically don't have much to worry about.

Advocates for the legalization of cannabis pondered: Who, exactly, would take the time, energy, and money to hand out cannabis candies? Yet, rumors have persisted -- online, one could still easily find scary videos and outdated articles warning nervous parents.

A Tricky Issue

In 2012, Colorado legalized cannabis for adult use. Soon after, some — including anti-legalization groups — argued THC edibles look too similar to common candies, like Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids. To make matters worse, the Denver Police released a video ahead of Halloween, fueling the unfounded rumors. In addition, one of the most active anti-legalization groups, SMART Colorado, also joined in the increasing cries to protect children from the dangers of edibles.

“Marijuana candy is a real concern," said Rachel O'Bryan of SMART Colorado in a 2014 article. "Parents don’t know, many parents don’t know, marijuana is in candy. We see this as a problem and we don’t believe it’s being blown out of proportion, and we do believe that marijuana in candy appeals to kids.” SMART Colorado also bought a billboard emblazoned with a loaded question: "Marijuana candy. Trick or Treat?"

Don't be Spooked

Despite stoking the paranoia among Colorado's parents, SMART Colorado has changed its tune in recent years. In an interview with Gina Carbone, the co-founder of SMART Colorado, she reconsiders her position on the issue: "To be really honest, I doubt people are putting marijuana candy in little kids’ baskets.”

To this day, there have been no cases linking Halloween candy and THC edibles. Furthermore, according to  HB 1366, passed in 2016 in Colorado with overwhelming support, marijuana edibles must be clearly identifiable and distinguishable from regular candies and baked goods. This legislation dramatically reduces the risk of accidental ingestion in Colorado.

As statistics have shown time and time again, children unknowingly eating medicated goods on Halloween is extremely unlikely.

“Cannabis consumers are not looking to dose children with cannabis. That is not something that I’ve ever heard of anybody ever being interested in doing or wanting to do or would think is ethical,” said Evan Nison, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of NORML,  a pro-legalization group. “This is just something that some police officers sometimes say every year, never really comes to fruition, and is just a scare tactic.”

Keep Kids and Pets Safe Around Cannabis Edibles

You might love relaxing at the end of a long day with a medicated snack, or you might find infused goods suit your lifestyle more than inhalation. But for kids and animals alike, accidentally consuming THC can be an unpleasant experience. And, while you might not have to worry about trick-or-treaters finding THC in this year's candy haul, it is important to prevent accidental ingestion year-round -- whether it's the little ones or your furry friends.

Here are some tips to help keep everyone happy and safe around medicated edibles:

  • Keep medicated snacks safely stowed in a locked container. We recommend the Hush Box for a secure and discreet option! Pick up yours at High Mountain Health 🙂
  • Avoid loose candy to prevent any confusion. Leave medicated goodies in their designated wrapper until you're ready to consume them. That way, designated labels and/or warnings will still be visible.
  • If they're old enough, have a conversation about cannabis with your kids. Most of the time, the best option is being open and transparent. Talking to them about cannabis early on will make conversations later in life easier and more effective.

Have a fun and safe Halloween! #hmhlovesyou