Just when you thought Halloween was safe for children again, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a new health warning: your kids could be ingesting (gulp!) marijuana-laced goodies!
This morning, local sheriffs announced they had
seized thousands of "illicit" substances in the form of cookies, cereal products, sodas as well as candy treats over the last few months that have been made to resemble commercial items.
"They looked like regular, ordinary candy bars," said Nicole Nishida, LA County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.
According to LA County Sheriff Sgt. Alissa Dedmon, the seizure took place at a Southern California medical marijuana dispensary "sometime this year" and is currently under investigation.
Sheriffs aren't claiming that the medical dispensaries are passing out the adulterated goods to children but worry that the proliferation of hundreds of dispensaries throughout the city will lead to more of our children getting hold of the stuff.
"There's no blame here," said Dedmon. But it would be "horrible if a little kid gets a hold of (the marijuana-laced goods)," she said.
In a world full of possibilities, an elementary school child could very well confuse a Snickers bar or a pack of M&Ms with a cannabis treat. But with dispensaries clearly labeling their candy bars "Cannabar" and "Bliss White Chronic," such a mix-up is highly unlikely.
In addition to the candies, the breakfast cereal "Cannabites" - which resembles Fruit Loops combined with melted-down green-colored marshmallows - looks nothing like the real thing.
For marijuana advocates, the sheriffs' warning about the cannabis candies borders on the ridiculous.
"It's spoof labeling!" explained Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a marijuana rights organization.
Rather than take the sheriff's warnings seriously, he said the department's announcement - which coincides with today's press conference where Dianne Feinstein publicly condemned Proposition 19, a state measure that legalizes marijuana use - was a political ploy meant to garner opposition to cannabis use.
"This is pure and simple a (public relations) campaign to combine youth and marijuana and scare the public," said Hermes.
Admittedly, the sheriff's department may have a point about the dangers of marijuana edibles getting into the wrong hands.
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After all, what is to stop poor junior from popping one of mommy's marijuana dispensary brownies or chocolate cookies into his mouth?
Hermes said medical marijuana dispensaries could help families avoid such a scenario by properly labeling their products as well as ensuring that dispensaries abide by rules strictly prohibiting them from giving such items to non-patients.
If all else fails, he said lawmakers should pass measures to make sure cannabis treats are safe.
"If they are truly concerned (about this issue), they should regulate the production of marijuana edibles," he said.