Just days before Halloween, attorneys general in several states have issued warnings about cannabis edibles that look like candy and snacks.
"These look-alike cannabis products are unregulated, unsafe and illegal," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. "Accidental cannabis overdoses by children are increasing nationwide, and these products will only make this worse."
Tong cited American Association of Poison Control data showing that in the first half of this year, there were more than 2,600 calls to poison control hotlines about young children consuming cannabis products. And children who'd been exposed to marijuana edibles accounted for 80% of calls to the Poison Control Center in the first nine months of 2020.
Parents need to "take strong precautions to ensure that children do not have access to any products containing cannabis," Tong said.
Cannabis edibles are "deceptively designed" to resemble regular treats, New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
"These unregulated and deceptive cannabis products will only confuse and harm New Yorkers, which is why they have no place in our state," James added. "It is essential that we limit their access to protect our communities and, more specifically, our children. In light of an increase in accidental overdoses among children nationwide, it is more vital than ever that we do everything we can to curb this crisis and prevent any further harm, or even worse, death... I urge everyone to remain vigilant against these products and to report these harmful items to my office immediately."
Some of the snack-like cannabis products contain levels of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that exceed the maximum legal adult serving, the state attorneys general noted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, edibles containing marijuana have a greater risk of poisoning people and can lead to serious injury, cause longer-lasting intoxicating effects and be unpredictable, CBS News reported. THC from edibles can make children children "very sick," and in certain instances require emergency room visits or hospitalization, the agency adds.
"Accidental cannabis overdoses by children are increasing nationwide, and these look-alike products will only exacerbate the danger by appealing to children and youth," Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement.
Loss of coordination, lethargy, respiratory distress and a loss of consciousness are symptoms of a THC overdose, Raoul said.