A Pennsylvania police department is warning parents to be extra vigilant this upcoming Halloween after finding a marijuana edible that looks a lot like a popular candy.
The Johnstown Police Department posted on Facebook that they found candy bearing resemblance to the "Nerds Rope" when executing a search warrant in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.
The marijuana edible looks like the traditional Nerds candy but contains 400 mg of THC.
"During this Halloween, we urge parents to be ever vigilant in checking their children’s candy before allowing them to consume those treats," police said on Facebook.
A marijuana edible, often shortened to just "edible," is a food or drink item that contains marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania for pertinent medical conditions, but it's not legal for recreational use.
While police departments often issue these warnings around Halloween, it's worth nothing that edibles are often labeled as containing marijuana on the package.
There are a few documented cases of children ingesting marijuana edibles on or around Halloween, such as the toddler in Las Vegas who was hospitalized after ingesting an edible in 2018 and a group of kids in Arizona who got sick from THC edibles from a candy bowl at one of the kids' homes.
However, cannabis advocates have said marijuana candy has seemingly become the new "razor blades in the apple."
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws points out in a blog post that people are unlikely to hand out THC-laced candy on purpose, citing the much more expensive price of these items when compared to normal candy. There actually isn't single documented case of someone purposely giving a trick-or-treating child a marijuana edible, according to a 2017 report from Newsweek and a 2014 report from Vox.
And when kids do ingest edibles, the main culprit seems to be “poor child supervision or product storage," according to a 2016 study that looked at unintentional pediatric exposures to marijuana in Colorado.
Essentially, the same rule always applies, regardless of marijuana: be cautious when taking candy from strangers.