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As the market for recreational marijuana grows in the United States, cannabis “edibles” are becoming more popular, and sometimes they fall into the wrong hands. An edible is any food product which contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Nowadays, edibles come in a wide variety of options, including brownies, cookies, marshmallows, butter, tea, and even beef jerky. Any piece of candy or bar of chocolate could be an edible, even if someone who shares it or eats it doesn’t know. In fact, edibles often do not look any different from ordinary snacks, and sometimes they lack clear, identifying labels.
Unfortunately, a group of middle school students in Florida’s Broward County just learned the hard way that sugar is not the only ingredient in some candy. On September 6, two girls and seven boys between the ages of ten and twelve years old went to a hospital in Pembroke Pines for stomach pain. According to Colleen Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the charter school they attend in Cooper City, one of the students “inadvertently” brought candy infused with THC to class. The candy looked normal and its packaging did not indicate that it contained THC. Luckily, none of the children suffered serious injuries and they all recovered within the day. The local police are investigating the incident and have not yet filed any criminal charges.
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In response to the incident on Friday, spokeswoman Reynolds released a cautionary statement to the school community: “We would like to advise all parents to be aware of a THC-laced candy that is packaged nearly identically to a popular sour candy. This deceptive advertising package can put children at-risk and we want all parents to be aware of the potential impacts.”
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The accident which took place last week in Cooper City is not the first time that marijuana edibles have harmed unsuspecting children. Earlier this year, hospitals in Massachusetts reported a record number of cases of children requiring emergency care after eating edibles that they mistook for normal food, prompting the state’s poison control center to advise parents to store all marijuana-infused products responsibly. In February, eleven children between the ages of five and nine years old went to the hospital after eating THC-laced gummy bears at their elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio.
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