How hard can it be to determine the difference between cannabis and candy? To the unsuspecting eye, it can be tough.
“We certainly come across a various number of products that we encounter where the THC and cannabis is infused into the product itself,” said Const. John MacLeod, spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police.
Edibles infused with THC like sour keys, suckers and chocolate bars could not only seem appetizing to anyone with a sweet tooth, but it’s also nearly impossible to tell that cannabis is infused in the product until it’s ingested.
That’s why police want parents and caregivers to check those candy bags a little closer this Halloween.
“Its always good advice that they go through those bags and check them before their kids start eating them,” said MacLeod. “Again, just making sure that there isn’t anything they should worry about.”
While cannabis edibles became legal on Oct. 17, the reality is products like chocolate bars or THC-infused soft drinks won’t be on the market for another seven weeks at least.
“By law, the earliest the NSLC can place any purchase orders is Dec. 16,” said NSLC spokesperson Beverley Ware. “But we do expect to have a few products arriving maybe late December and into January, but based on these conversations with our-licenced producers we expect it’s going to be a pretty limited supply, at least in those early months.”
Health Canada has strict regulations on cannabis edibles in terms of the types of products they offer and ingredients, according to Ware. They’ve also imposed strict regulations on packaging so it’s not appealing to kids.
Any edibles available today would likely come from the black market.
At the IWK poison center, clinical leader Laurie Mosher says cannabis is something they are concerned about year-round, but recognizes the challenge at Halloween and says it can be hard to differentiate an edible from candy.
The symptoms for cannabis consumption, Mosher says, can range from irritability of the stomach to drowsiness.
“Children are very drowsy. They have big pupils,” said Mosher. “Sometimes they complain that their stomach is upset, and they may be a little bit agitated and complaining of belly pain.”
According to Mosher, children might be more likely to consume cannabis edibles at home due to improper storage rather than from trick-or-treating. Mosher says they come across more poison issues at Halloween from children biting into glow sticks.
But Halifax police say it’s good to be aware of all risks at Halloween, especially visibility.
“For the cars that are going to be out there on Halloween night, be extra vigilant,” said MacLeod. “Slow down, you know the kids are going to be everywhere and they are excited and there’s a good chance they might not be paying attention to you.”