Anti-Amendment Two groups in Florida are using Halloween to highlight what, in their opinion, is another strike against the legalization of medical marijuana: marijuana-infused treats called “edibles.”
Edibles can look like regular treats: brownies, cookies, even candy. And groups like the Drug Free America Foundation and Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot are warning parents that, if Amendment Two is passed, edibles would be yet another thing to watch out for while kids go out trick-or-treating.
The groups argue that edibles' colorful packaging is easily confused with that of regular treats.
Alexander Garrard is a director at the Washington Poison Control Center based in Seattle. He says they have seen an uptick in calls to the center since the legalization of marijuana's recreational use in 2012. Almost 200 calls have been made this year, outpacing last year’s 158 calls. A third of those calls involve kids younger than 5 and half involve teenagers.
“I think what’s concerning and scary is that a lot of these edibles are marketed in such a way as to be very attractive to young kids,” says Garrard. He says kids wouldn't be able to distinguish a marijuana brownie from a regular brownie.
Garrard says one of the aggravating factors is that edibles often include more than one "dose" of marijuana. And because it takes a while for the “high” sensation to kick in, it is easy to overdose. In some cases that means nausea, vomiting, lethargy and delusions.
Ben Pollara, campaign manager at United for Care, which supports Amendment Two, says the rhetoric about dangers during Halloween unfairly plays on people’s fear about Halloween candy. He says pot-laced food is no more troubling than any other food intended for adults.
“Just like it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that at a dinner party, kids don’t pick up a glass thinking it’s apple juice and it happens to be scotch,” Pollara says.
Voting has already begun, and will wrap up on Election Day, Nov. 4. The constitutional initiative will need at least 60 percent voter support. A Gravis Marketing poll released Monday has only 50 percent in favor of the amendment, and 42 percent against.
Editor's note: In an earlier version of this story, we inadvertently included an image of candy pieces arranged into a swastika shape. We took the photo down immediately after Facebook commenters pointed out the offensive imagery.
We deeply apologize for not catching that important detail of the photo, and hope to not have offended our readers, whom we deeply respect and appreciate.