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Edibles in the Kids’ Trick-or-Treat Bag: A Legitimate Concern?

This Halloween, a lot of parents are concerned about their children’s trick-or-treating experience. A concern that draws a lot of attention every year is whether or not marijuana edibles will end up in a child’s candy bag. There have been many cases where kids find these types of treats and ingest them without knowing what they are, leading to serious health concerns. But nearly all of these incidents have come from finding the products around the house. Are there really people out there putting edibles in kids’ trick-or-treat bags?

The Annual Scare: Edibles in Halloween Candy

halloween candy

We hear about it every year, it seems. And the warnings come not just from concerned parents, but from government officials and the news media. CBS News published a story just this year titled, “State attorneys general warn of cannabis edibles that look like snacks and candy ahead of Halloween.”

Since the legalization of marijuana in many states, marijuana edibles have become more common. These products come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from gummies to chocolate bars, hard candies to even breath mints. For parents who are concerned about legalization taking away their ability to keep cannabis out of reach of children, the introduction of these types of edible products has only heightened their concern that any child could get into them without knowing what they’re getting themselves into.

There is no question that there have been many unfortunate incidents over the past few years involving kids finding marijuana edibles around their house or on Halloween night itself, but ingesting large amounts before realizing it was not candy. But how often does this really happen? And why would someone do such a thing anyway?

Why Might Someone Hand Out Cannabis Edibles at Halloween?

It is hard to see the motivation for someone to want to place marijuana edibles in the trick-or-treat bags of other people’s children, unless we’re talking about somebody who “just wants to watch the world burn.” Do doubt such people are out there, but are they really focusing their world-burning efforts on Halloween candy? Lets take a look at why the idea of the malicious candy-giver might be a bit far-fetched.

The Case Against

There are a few reasons why the idea of marijuana edibles winding up in trick-or-treat bags is still mostly just an unfounded fear.

Primarily, there haven’t been ANY documented cases of this happening to begin with. We do know there have only been a few instances where marijuana has made its way into kids’ candy over the past several years, but more than likely they were found around Halloween itself rather than being handed directly by some bad actor.

Joel Best, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, said:

“Children are not at risk for contaminated treats … For one thing, edible marijuana products are very expensive and this would be a very expensive prank. My research stretches back to 1958 … I have been unable to find any evidence that any child has been killed or seriously injured by a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick-or-treating.”

thc gummies with cannabis leaf

Marijuana Edibles are Expensive

As Best mentioned above, setting up a prank to dose all of the neighborhood children with THC would be quite an expensive endeavor. The price of cannabis edibles compared to regular candy is astronomical, and if we’re talking about marijuana in particular the cost would be even higher.

cannabis chocolate

For example, a single marijuana-infused chocolate bar can sell for up to $60 each (depending on the state, of course) compared with regular candy bars that average less than $0.75 per piece. This means it would cost hundreds of dollars just to purchase enough edibles to put into an entire neighborhood’s worth of trick or treat bags. And not only is this kind of prank expensive but also extremely time-consuming as well – since you’d actually have to go out there and do it yourself.

For the Perpetrator, Where’s the Payoff?

Even if some bad guy had the financial motivation and ability to pull such a prank, what would be the reward for them? All of the children who ended up high would be far away in their own homes. The perpetrator would have no idea if all of their effort and investment “paid off.”

Easy to Trace

Lastly, it would not take very sophisticated police work to trace the marijuana edibles back to their source. It would be incredibly hard for the person responsible not to leave some kind of evidence behind. Not to mention, if a handful of children ended up with marijuana in their candy bags, it would be quite easy to locate the neighborhood and the home from which they originated. It seems unlikely that the type of person who would invest the time and money to hand out marijuana edibles to young children would overlook this fact.

To be Clear: Accidental Cannabis Overdoses in Children are Real

The truth is that children accidentally consume marijuana candies is something that happens somewhat often in states where marijuana is legal. But these candies do not come from Halloween. In nearly all cases, the child either eats marijuana edibles left out by an adult or comes across marijuana candy that is given to them by someone that they know.

But as we can see, the idea of somebody going around and dosing every child’s trick-or-treat bag with marijuana doesn’t make any sense at all. It would be far too costly and time-consuming to even attempt such a feat. And if it ever did happen (completely hypothetically), there would almost certainly be some sort of evidence or record pointing directly back to that person.

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