Do edibles from the dispensary too closely resemble candy marketed to children?
The holidays are a time to gather with friends, family, and loved ones to celebrate the past year. These celebrations often times involve experience-enhancing substances like alcohol and marijuana that help ease social pressures and make family gatherings even more enjoyable. Celebrating with marijuana and alcohol is not an issue when done responsibly, but a new study suggests that edibles are falling into the hands of children at alarming rates.
While the legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States has nearly doubled over the course of the past five years, accidental ingestions of cannabis-infused edibles by children has increased by 1,375% in the same period. In 2017, there were slightly over 200 reported cases of children being rushed to the hospital for accidentally consuming marijuana edibles. In 2021, there were 3,054 reported incidents.
Children aged five years and younger account for 40% of accidental ingestions. The majority of children had found marijuana in their home and more than 20% needed to be hospitalized while 8% – 573 children – required critical care.
Marijuana edibles often resemble delicious sweets that children are accustomed to consuming. Children aged five years and younger don’t posses the ability to read the warning labels and assume they are sneaking a sweet treat behind their parents’ backs.
Medical experts are not only concerned with the increase in care needed for children who accidentally consume cannabis, but they are paying attention to how severe the reactions are becoming. Marijuana has become more potent than ever before; this is no longer your grandfather’s weed. Consuming a whole package of edibles may be dangerous even for an experienced user, let alone a five-year-old who has never been introduced to THC.
While there’s no official law on the table, these medical reports are concerning, and we should expect to see a push to regulate edible packaging in the future. Many opponents agree that marketing edibles like one markets candy to children is dangerous.
We do not have to wait for a law to be passed to start protecting our children. If you purchase edibles from a dispensary, make sure to keep them out of reach from children by storing them in child-proof containers. Children are curious and will explore on their own. As adults, it is our responsibility to protect them.