Marijuana edibles a threat to our kids



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Life is like a box of…chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Seriously, families in Washington State are experiencing a real problem with marijuana infused edibles. In 2012, Washington voters approved Marijuana for recreational use and as demand markets have grown, so did the stores offering edible marijuana products. The problem is that an open market for edibles increases children’s accessibility and risk for overdose, addiction and sometimes even death. Take for example the case of Levy Thamba Pongi, who jumped to his death after consuming a large amount of marijuana contained in a cookie. Many studies have reported the detrimental effects of marijuana use and we have seen a spike in emergency room admissions in the state, some involving children, who had accidentally eaten marijuana-laced snacks. These products are purposely made attractive to children, with packaging and names that are deceptive, some of…

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7 Responses to “Marijuana edibles a threat to our kids”

  1. brittanydispenza Says:

    This is incredibly interesting – I had no idea that these types of consumables existed. The similarities in packaging to the real deal is mind boggling! If you cant read, they look like the SAME EXACT product! Amazing! I had heard of the dispensaries in CO, and these seem to be under heavy restriction (i.e., no children allowed). I recall the highly publicized opinion / research of Dr. Sanjay Gupta ( and, based on his research, why he changed his mind/opinion on the use of marijuana. As more states look to legalize marijuana beyond a medical use, I agree that additional policy and regulations will be needed to safeguard children and others who may abuse these weed-infused consumables. Perhaps there should be designated 18 yrs and over facilitates – like the ABC stores for alcohol, to distribute marijuana and their consumables.

  2. Sara E. Thiam Says:

    Thank you for this important post. Indeed marijuana was legalized in the context of striving to increase control/regulation of the drug. Your comments suggest that current marketing and packaging strategies are actually increasing access and health risks among youth. Public health actors and concerned citizens should urge policymakers to consider these issues and regulate marijuana marketing to allow for legal use while seeking to minimize accidental (and especially profit-elicited) youth exposure.

  3. katienlilly Says:

    It is very surprising to see the edibles packaged in this way- I had to take a second look at the picture to even notice that they weren’t real candy brands, so it had me fooled! Clearly, if they can fool an adult, a child who saw these items in his home would likely not be able to distinguish these from normal candy. As the legalization of marijuana is relatively new in the US, there are going to be stories like this as the market shifts. However, if children are getting access to marijuana-laced snacks it is probably not because they are buying them in a store. More likely, someone in their home – a parent or older sibling – are buying the snacks and leaving them where children can access them. This issue needs to addressed through strong health education campaigns warning parents to keep these items out of reach of children, the same as they would keep medicines, bleach, or other chemicals locked away or out of reach of children. Stores selling marijuana products could be completely following the law and only selling to those of-age, and children could still access the products if their parents or siblings are careless. I agree that the snacks should be packaged in a different way – aside from looking dangerously similar to sweet treats, it has to be massive copyright infringement! I recall as a child we had “Mr. Yuck” stickers from Maryland Poison Control and my mom put them on all the dangerous substances in the house, (so we wouldn’t accidentally drink laundry detergent or something). I think parents, if they choose to have these products in their home, need to take responsibility for keeping them away from their children.

  4. manishs1 Says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. I definitely agree that marketing marijuana edibles to children is ethically wrong and dangerous. The post reminded me of how alcohol is often marketed to youth. In fact, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at JHUSPH monitors and studies this ( Tougher policies that prohibit this type of packaging for marijuana edibles should be enacted. However, and outright ban is not the way to go. Strict regulation and testing of edibles is what is needed. There are patients, such as those with cancer, who consume edible medical marijuana because they are unable inhale smoke. For these people, edible marijuana has had dramatic positive effects on the quality of their lives.

  5. llevy10 Says:

    This is such an important topic as more states are moving towards legalizing marijuana. We frequently see a lot of the benefits of legalizing marijuana in the media, but it’s important to remember the draw backs as well. Developing policies around packaging and advertising could set the president for other states looking to legalize marijuana and could reduce child utilization in other states. Emphasis should be put on marijuana as a substance that can offer benefits to individuals experiencing certain conditions, not as a candy that can be easily misunderstood. Accountability needs to be put on the sellers and manufacturers to provide accurate and ethical advertising.

  6. etan16jhu Says:

    Thank you for highlighting this controversial issue. Legalization of marijuana has its roots on “harmless” recreational use, freedom of personal choice, and the realization that prohibition does not mean elimination of its use. While these can be reasonable benefits in the first world, there are many potential harms that accompany its legalization – the potential of its influence on children and youth who will continue to become the future of the world. As with opening pandora’s box it is often harder to impose regulations to achieve a fine balance where there are no unintended consequences. Introducing stronger laws to curb these events (such as marijuana edibles) seem almost counter-intuitive to the efforts to promote personal freedom. Nevertheless, regulations seem like the only way to control this. Clear guidelines and carefully thought out penalties need to be drawn out to prevent susceptible children and youth from unintended exposure to marijuana.

  7. marithersangalang Says:

    Thank you for raising awareness on this issue of nationwide relevance. The lack of thoughtful planning and close follow-up on needed regulatory practices is truly disheartening. It is also very surprising to see this occurring in the national capital state. California, apparently is just coming up to speed with regulatory efforts even if cannabis has long been legalized in the state. Both states should learn from Colorado that developed a more planful and legalization process coupled with means to ensure appropriate commercialization and access of the drug.
    While marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets, it seems that the efforts are not fast and supported enough. More advocacy to highlight the importance of protecting the safety of the general population is needed. Consumers should also be better informed about the cannabinoid profile and potency and should consider requesting information on any agricultural, manufacturing and packaging processes such as use of pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, or any other residual solvents that can equally predispose them to health issues and other harms.

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