Potential for marijuana edibles a danger for kids

With Halloween coming on, and the November election just days away, it is a good time to consider the dangers that will be presented by marijuana edibles should ballot measure 2 succeed. Today, marijuana edibles have come a long way from the homemade brownies of the 1960s. Edibles have become commercialized and are being manufactured as lollipops, gummy bears, candy bars, fudge and any number of other child attracting forms in addition to the more familiar cookies and brownies. If ballot measure 2 passes, marijuana edibles will present a real and present danger to Alaskans.

Shops all over Colorado are luring customers with marijuana laced confections, and in more than a few cases consumers have had bad reactions to the products. Earlier this summer, a Wyoming college student unfamiliar with the use of cannabis was tempted to buy a cookie which packaging said contained 6 1/2 “portions.” When the recommended 1/6 of the cookie failed to illicit the desired effect, he ate the rest of the treat, and not long after had a psychotic reaction. He began to wreck the hotel room, then to the horror of his companions who were unable to control him, he leapt to his death from a 4th floor balcony to the lobby floor of a Denver hotel.

While this was the most dramatic case of marijuana poisoning since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado earlier this year, it is not the only one. Colorado’s poison centers have reported a significant increase in calls for assistance related to cannabis poisonings, and even veterinarians are reporting an uptick in deadly pet poisonings due to marijuana edibles.

Most troubling are reports from Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver which reports that in the first 7 months of this year they received 13 children, most aged 3 and under, who were suffering from marijuana poisoning. That is up from 8 marijuana edible exposed children in all of 2013. Of the 13 children admitted for marijuana toxicity since recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado this year, seven became critically ill from edible marijuana and required intensive care. Two of these children were so critical that they required the insertion of a breathing tube. Additional children have become ill from marijuana but did not need hospitalization at Colorado Children’s Hospital.

When you watch your kids dig into that Halloween candy this year, think about how hard it would be to keep them away from the marijuana laced versions of their favorite treats. Kids don’t read packaging and don’t understand that poor judgment or carelessness can have deadly consequences. Do what you can to protect Alaska’s children. Please vote no on Ballot Measure 2!