Ohio AG issues warning for marijuana snacks ahead of trick-or-treat

The Ohio Attorney General is warning parents about cannabis-laced food and hemp derivatives that are packaged to look like well-known brands of candy and snacks.

“The levels of THC in these fakes could have some real and devastating consequences for children,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Parents need to be extra cautious, especially around Halloween, that these copycat products don’t wind up in treat bags.”

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The most common overdoses among children across the country involve kids eating cannabis foods and the overdoses continue to rise, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“In the first half of 2021 alone, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported hotlines received 2,622 calls for services related to young children ingesting cannabis products,” the AG’s office said.

Yost said the two poison control centers in Ohio reported a significant increase in kids eating cannabis foods in 2020.

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Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Drug and Poison Information Center reported 79 cases of ingestion in 2020, up from 38 in 2019, which is a 108 percent increase, Yost’s office said. A larger increase was seen at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Central Ohio Poison Center recorded 79 consults in 2020, but its calls were up from 16 in 2019, which is a 394 percent increase, according to the attorney general’s office.

Yost said some of the copycat snacks that have been seen contain 600 to 1,000 mg of THC.

“If a child were to eat an entire bag, he or she would be consuming 60-100 times the maximum legal adult serving,” Yost said. “Individuals and companies responsible for putting these illegal edibles within the reach of children should reconsider how they choose to make profits. Also, sellers should know they may be subject to legal action and substantial civil penalties.”

For perspective, in Ohio the sale of medical marijuana is limited to a single serving of an edible cannabis product containing 10 mg of THC and a multiple-serving package must contain less than 100 mg of total THC, according to the attorney general’s office.

Symptoms of THC overdose include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy and loss of consciousness.

If your child is sick and you suspect a THC overdose you should call Central Ohio Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Those who see look-alike cannabis edibles should file a consumer complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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