Halloween is just days away, and as kids get ready to don their best costumes for Halloween night, authorities have issued a trick-or-treating warning for parents. In the days leading up to Halloween 2021, multiple states have issued warnings for parents to check their children's Halloween candy for cannabis-laced edibles, which can come in packaging resembling popular candies and can prove lethal if ingested in high amounts.
Attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Ohio have warned parents to be on the lookout for these edibles, according to Forbes. Parents are being encouraged to check packaging for a small "THC" sign in the bottom left corner or incorrect names on packaging, including Stoney Patch and Stoneo, which are knockoffs for Sour Patch Kids and Oreos. The attorneys general said these products and others, which can easily be mistaken for beloved candies and other snacks, may contain high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, which can lead to an accidental overdose if consumed by children. Some of the products contain between 600 and 1,000 mg oh THC — a bag of lookalike Cheetos contains 600 milligrams of THC, according to ABC7 NY — which is more than 100 times the legal serving for adults in some states.
"These look-alike cannabis products are unregulated, unsafe, and illegal," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. "Accidental cannabis overdoses by children are increasing nationwide, and these products will only make this worse. While Connecticut recently legalized adult-use cannabis, many of these products fall far outside the range of what will ever be safe or authorized for sale. If you see these look-alike products for sale, please report them to my office and take every measure to keep these away from kids."
In a similar warning, New York Attorney General Letitia James said parents "should be on the alert for deceptive cannabis products that look like standard snacks and candy but contain dangerously high concentrations of THC." James added that "these products are especially dangerous for our children. We've seen an increase in accidental overdoses among children nationwide, and it's vital that we do everything we can to protect our children."
The warning comes amid an increase in calls to poison control centers of children consuming the drug. According to James, 2,622 calls related to children ingesting cannabis products were made to the American Association of Poison Control in the first half of 2021. Symptoms of THC overdose include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy, and loss of consciousness.