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Marijuana-laced Halloween candy has LA sheriffs on alert

October 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Halloween time is not all fun and games. Authorities are warning parents about marijuana-laced candy that could end up in their trick-or-treaters' bags.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department wants to raise awareness about the types of items sold at marijuana dispensaries. They're zeroing in on pot-laced food items, so they don't end up in the wrong hands this Halloween.

Sheriff's and narcotics officials displayed a variety of candy, soda, chocolate and other snack foods Friday containing concentrated amounts of marijuana that were recently seized from local marijuana dispensaries.

Some of these edibles have warnings on the label to keep out of reach of children and pets and name cannabis in the list of ingredients and say the product is for medical use only, but you have to read the fine print.

For example, a box of chocolates may be labeled on the outside, but with the lid off, there's no way to tell that the chocolates inside are laced with marijuana.

L.A. County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Glenn Walsh said parents should definitely inspect the candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating.

Walsh pointed out that labels on candies such as lollypops can be easily removed, so parents should be extra vigilant.

"If it doesn't have a recognizable label on it, if it is not a recognizable brand, it should be considered at least potentially dangerous to the children," said Walsh.

Walsh said if kids eat marijuana-laced candy, they will become disoriented, possibly confused, have dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, a high pulse rate and possibly be sweating.

The L.A. County Sherriff's Department says it's not aware of anyone handing out marijuana-laced munchies on Halloween in the past, but they want people of all ages to know that drugged treats are out there in many forms including trail mix, crackers and drinks that could be served at parties.

Walsh said a pungent smell or an odd taste can serve as indicators on whether the food contains marijuana.

"Some of the concentrated cannabis that we're dealing with does not have an odor to it, but when we start getting into the food products, it definitely still has an odor," he said. "It doesn't smell like straight bud, but it has an odor to it consistent with marijuana, that skunk smell."

As for the potency of the marijuana-laced products, Walsh said the level of THC, the chemical found in marijuana, can vary from zero to over 90 percent.

With Halloween just around the corner, the L.A. County Fire Department is reminding trick-or-treaters to wear fire-resistant costumes if possible and watch out for cars when going door-to-door.

"You want to make sure you carry a flash light and that you stay visible," said L.A. County Fire Department Inspector Quvondo Johnson, who recommended wearing a safety vest, reflective material or carrying glow sticks.

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