Halloween Cannabis Candy Scare Needs Perspective

Regulation is the best way to protect our Keiki.

Last month, two Hawai’i teenagers wound up in an Emergency Room after consuming an illegal product laced with an extremely high concentration of cannabis.

At the time, we put out a statement (below), which still holds true as the story gets recirculated in the run-up to Halloween.

Scares like this tend to crop up at this time of year.  It merits mentioning that in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, there were ZERO cases of cannabis candy poisoning on Halloween that year.

You may have seen the September 29, 2015 Hawaii News Now video about the Hawai’i teens that wound up in an emergency room after ingesting fruit roll-ups laced with some type of cannabis extract.  Thankfully, the teens had a brief ER stay and are now doing fine.

Here’s what you need to know to complement the report:

  • The product is clearly illegal and intended for recreational purposes.
  • The media report’s reference to“medical marijuana” is spurious. Few, if any, medical marijuana patients would have any interest in this potentially dangerous item.
  • Therefore, as there was no quality assurance in the making of these rolls, it is highly possible that the product contains contaminates such as mold, pesticides or solvent residues.
  • The symptoms like vomiting are expected results of ingesting a high dose of a concentrated substance or a contaminated product.
  • Cannabis has been used medically for decades to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and nausea. However, when used recklessly or recreationally, large amounts of cannabis can cause gastrointestinal problems and more.

Ultimately, this is exactly the type of situation that is more likely to happen when you have no regulation of a market and a total absence of quality control. In addition, a black market like this does not care about our keiki or check IDs.

Next year, Hawai’i will see the opening of its first medical marijuana dispensaries, addressing all of these problems. 

Dispensaries will have tight security and adhere to strict regulations. They will sell only safe and tested products. They WILL check IDs–prohibiting sales to anyone under age 21.

Most importantly, we are glad that the teens received the medical attention they needed and that they recovered from this scary experience. We hope that they will tell their peers about the need to avoid these types of dangerous scams.

To learn more about how to TALK TO TEENS about drugs, please read SAFETY FIRST: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs.

Safety First