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Doctors in legal-marijuana states warn parents about pot mixed in with Halloween candy

Posted at 8:14 AM, Oct 31, 2018

SAN DIEGO, California — With recreational marijuana now legal in California, doctors are warning parents to be extra vigilant when checking their kids' candy on Halloween. They worry that the kids may confuse edibles for candy.

"There's going to be candy all over the house," says Dr. James Elia from Sharp Grossmont Hospital. "If there are edibles that are in the household and are forgotten to put away, kids may be able to get into them as well."

State law allows edibles but has strict guidelines for how much THC can be in them. A package can't contain more than 100 milligrams, and each piece can't have more than 10.

Marijuana vendors say new rules also make it harder for the edibles to be confused for candy.

"You cannot use the word candy and animals cannot be in the shape of certain animals and images that might be attractive to children," says Kyle Dukes from Torrey Holistics. 

He also noted that state law doesn't allow the edibles to be in any shape the State Bureau of Cannabis Control deems "attractive to children." Specifically, they can't be shaped like fruit, animals or lollipops.

Packaging for marijuana-infused food must also be child resistant and clearly labeled.

Dr. Elia recommends keeping edibles locked away, similar to the way people treat medicine they don't want kids to get. He says the side effects of THC on children could be devastating.

"They could experience alteration of mental status, sometimes hallucinations, severe anxiety, severe paranoia," he says. "With children, it's also noted shortness of breath."

Elia also says parents should be extra vigilant when checking their kids' trick-or-treat candy, to make sure an edible didn't wind up in their collection.

"We all have to be concerned about this," he says. "We all have to raise the level of suspicion."