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Ohio AG warns parents of look-alike cannabis edibles ahead of Halloween

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Photo Credit: Columbus Police

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is warning parents about illegal cannabis edibles that are packaged to look like well-known brands of snack foods and candy.

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

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the most common overdoses among children nationwide involve ingestion of edible cannabis foods, and the incidents continue to rise.

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.

Ohio’s two poison control centers reported a significant increase in children ingesting such products in 2020:

  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Drug and Poison Information Center reported 79 cases of ingestion in 2020, up from 38 in 2019 – a 108% increase.
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Central Ohio Poison Center also recorded 79 consults in 2020, but its calls were up from 16 in 2019 – a 394% increase.

The sale of marijuana for certain medical reasons is legal for adults in Ohio. In those approved uses, a single serving of an edible cannabis product contains 10 mg of THC and a multiple-serving package must contain less than 100 mg of total THC.

Some of the copycat products seized by police contain 600-1,000 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.

Look for symptoms of THC overdose that include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy or even loss of consciousness.

If your child is sick and you suspect he or she has eaten a food containing high amounts of THC, call the Central Ohio Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Consumers who encounter look-alike cannabis edibles are encouraged to file a consumer complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by clicking here. 

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