Candy-Colored Meth Dreams

Last week Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) reintroduced a bill aimed at combating a new drug menace that, as far as anyone can tell, does not actually exist: candy-flavored meth. The Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act, a.k.a. "the candy-flavored meth bill," would automatically double penalties for anyone who "manufactures, creates, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute a controlled substance that is flavored, colored, packaged or otherwise altered in a way that is designed to make it more appealing to a person under 21 years of age, or who attempts or conspires to do so." Grassley explains why this legislation is urgently needed:

It's disturbing that drug dealers are trying to lure teens and young kids by flavoring drugs to taste like candy. This latest craze needs to be dealt with before it's too late....The legislation that Senator Feinstein and I have introduced should make drug dealers think twice about selling candy flavored drugs to our kids.

The only problem with this explanation is that the fiendish pushers luring children into a lifetime of addiction with strawberry-flavored speed appear to be little more than figments of Grassley and Feinstein's drug-fevered imaginations. To be fair, a lot of people have imagined these monsters, but none of them has produced a real-life specimen. In a June 2007 story, "Meth Ado About Nothing?," for the drug policy site Join Together, Bob Curley reported:

Both the DEA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy told Join Together that they have not been able to identify a single confirmed seizure of flavored meth....

Experts say that there's a real possibility that local police are confusing colored meth—which is relatively common—with flavored meth. Tom McNamara, a meth trainer and special-projects coordinator for the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force Group, told Join Together that meth made from Sudafed or some generic versions of the drug will have a light-pink color because of the dye used in the pills. Moreover, he said, meth made from anhydrous ammonia treated with GloTell—a chemical marker designed to discourage thefts—will be bright pink. The drug also can appear greenish or blue.

"We've had that forever," said McNamara of colored meth, whereas his inquiries about flavored meth have yielded nothing.

Also check out Curley's sidebar, in which he asks a question that apparently never occurred to Grassley, Feinstein, and other politicians plagued by candy-colored nightmares: "Does 'Flavored Meth' Even Make Sense?" If Grassley and Feinstein had simply paid a visit to Snopes.com, they could have saved their staffs the trouble of writing this stupid bill. But as the Drug War Chronicle notes, they are proceeding "as if the debunking of the myth had never occurred." The Chronicle worries that their broadly worded legislation against a phantom menace could be used to arbitrarily increase the penalties of people who make or sell drugs that are deemed to be kid-targeted because of bright colors, cartoons, or whimsical names.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Mister DNA||

    We need to do something about this before the alcohol industry follows the lead of meth manufacturers and starts producing peppermint-flavored liquors.

  • Elemenope||

    This is pretty funny on two levels.

    On one level, they're legislating against something that in all probability does not exist, or exists at negligible levels.

    On another, if it *did* exist, preventing it isn't actually that onerous. It is a reasonable end of public policy to make candy taste like candy and drugs taste like drugs. If drugs were passed off as candy, that's not a good thing, as accidental dosing and overdosing and so forth, as well as accidental child consumption, would become more likely.

    Of course, a reasonable public policy stance on this would be helped along a bit by, you know, ending the war on drugs, so it could be properly and (one hopes) lightly regulated.

    So minus one to the idiots who wrote the bill, and minus one to the libertarians who are bitching about it.

  • Bingo||

    New and improved drug-flavored candy!

  • ||

    The only think I can think of that this law might apply to is I remember a decade ago acid would sometimes have little pictures on each hit. I forget what the pictures were but I suppose I could see this law applying to someone who puts something cute on it (kitten, balloon...etc). Stupid fucking law, but not a surprise since pretty much all drug laws are stupid.

    Though this does prevent me from making bubblegum flavored crack........ :(

  • Tamfang||

    Ah yes, good old Blue Star acid.

  • Mister DNA||

    Wait till the government finds out why I drink a glass of pineapple juice every day.

  • Ska||

    Yeah jayjay, most of the acid I got in high school and college had cartoon characters and the like, so you could ask for the Beavis & Butthead or the Xmen by name.

  • Some Guy||

    I'm old enough to remember candy cigarettes. They came in a fake pack and even had red dye at the ends to simulate that comforting glow.

    I miss freedom.

  • Some Guy||

    Holy crap, they still sell them! But is it illegal to give them to The Children™?


    http://www.oldtimecandy.com/candy-cigarettes.htm

  • darkrail||

    I think the "candy flavored" thing is a deliberate lie, just a trojan horse allowing them to horrify parents and pass a law to double EVERYONE'S sentence. Here's why:

    At my favorite medical marijuana dispensary, they make full-color stickers for the pill bottles that the weed comes in. For instance, the "Morning Star" that I smoked last night had a picture of a cartoony rock star girl, while the "Skywalker" I smoked last week had an image of Luke Skywalker looking out across a big green field of cannabis.

    While I don't use other drugs, I've heard that people label heroin with different "brand names" so that the quality manufacturers can get a good reputation and can charge more. Recently thesmokinggun.com had pictures of some seized heroin branded "Obama" in big pink letters.

    Surely (as Jacob said) these things will all somehow fall under the broad language of the law.

  • ||

    Hmm...it has never occurred to me to try to specifically market my product to people that don't have any money or means to acquire it! That 5-12 y.o. bracket is just waiting to be tapped!

    I'm off to the lab!

  • ||

    At some point previously non-violent criminals will need to re-evaluate whether they should start carrying guns on the basis the penalty for getting caught for the petty crime is so great you may as well risk shooting your way out with the police.

  • BDB||

    Why can't they make candy-flavored Oxy Contin?

  • Jerry||

    @Some Guy
    The puppy parliament in the EUSSR advised a ban on candy sigarettes in 2002, luckily it was scrapped.

  • Elemenope||

    The difference between this and "candy cigarettes" is that it is easy to tell just by looking at a candy cigarette that it is not the real thing (and good luck lighting the thing!)

  • Kolohe||

    They're coming after your Jenkem next.

  • Paul||

    I also hear that some of these drugs make you high, making them even more enticing after you've done them once.

    I also heard that a combination of legislators consulting with the environmental lobby are going to introduce a bill banning food that tastes good due to the overwhelming obesity crisis.

  • cunnivore||

    I see this as a win-win-win-win. Feinstein and Grassley get to crow to their constituents that they are protecting the children, and the population at large doesn't have their freedom restricted at all (since the banned items don't, and probably never will, exist).

    If only we could develop more of these harmless outlets for politicians' statist impulses!

  • cunnivore||

    I hear the bright pink meth turns your Jenkem bright pink too, Kolohe.

  • ||

    Why do you hate the children, Jacob?

  • SIV||

    I have a vague recollection of reading about meth jawbreakers in Thailand several years ago with a warning that the stimulant candy was bound for the USA any day now.I have no idea if the speedy Siamese sugar spheres were common, apocryphal , or something in between.

  • ||

    I propose a Constitutional Amendment forbidding any government official from using any reference to "Teh Children" in trying to get a bill passed.

    Do they think we're that gulli....oh crap, nevermind.

  • ||

    Seriously,
    If we had term limits, think of the institutional knowledge, the valuable apparently useless experience we'd lose if these two deep-thinking insipid self promoting legislators were prohibited from running for re-election. It apparently took 45 fucking years of Senatorial experience to write another useless piece of crap legislation to add to the federal criminal code.
    a) I'm pretty sure it's against the law to sell crack.
    b) I'll wager there is another federal law against selling it to children.
    c) You could probably get the FDA to pile on adulterated drugs charges too.

    What a couple useless steaming piles of fecal matter. Thanks to McCain-Feingold, unless a multi-millionaire decides to blow some cash on his/her own bid, these two mental midgets are shoo-ins to be re-elected by the moronic voters of Califvornia and Iowa.

    Oh, fuck it. Americans are just too stupid for self-government.

  • SIV||

    My favorite semi-real drug threatening our children is heroin cheese. Not that I've tried it,or seen it or anything.I just think if there really is a heroin product cheaper than a 20oz Coca Cola the drug war is truly lost. Hell it is reportedly cheaper than real cheese.

  • Elemenope||

    My favorite semi-real drug threatening our children is heroin cheese. Not that I've tried it,or seen it or anything.I just think if there really is a heroin product cheaper than a 20oz Coca Cola the drug war is truly lost. Hell it is reportedly cheaper than real cheese.

    Yeah but it probably tastes like crap.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Keep Dope Alive !!!

    Marijuana...that is

    Meth/Coke/Speed/XTC are miserable drugs.
    They make me too too speedy. I don't like these drugs, don't trust these drug either. One never knows what's in a powder/pill/etc.

    Marijuana, on the other hand, you know exactly what it is. Haven't heard too many OD stories concerning it either.

  • cokehead||

    This is upsetting, because I was really looking forward to the Coke flavored coke. Better than the Pepsi flavored coke - less sweet.

  • Elemenope||

    Marijuana, on the other hand, you know exactly what it is.

    Uh huh. Sure.

    Me, I likes my pot, but you better get it from a trusty source. It can be adulterated just like anything else you put in your mouth by disreputable (or just plan incompetent) folk.

  • mark||

    This bill will do nothing to prevent kids from using drugs, but it will have the intended effect of ratcheting up the Fear level, which may cause some families to reach the tipping point and turn to drugs. Still, this a plusgood bill.

  • mark||

    Meth/Coke/Speed/XTC are miserable drugs.
    They make me too too speedy. I don't like these drugs, don't trust these drug either. One never knows what's in a powder/pill/etc.

    Don't make Jacob Sullum stomp you! Also the guys at hedweb have something to say about coke.

    This is upsetting, because I was really looking forward to the Coke flavored coke.

    I just wish they would bring back Coke with sugar, I'm tired of smuggling it over the border!

  • Elemenope||

    Isn't fraud (marketing one thing as another, like, say psychedelics as pez) doubleplusungood among you Non-aggression principle peeps?

    Or do your rules only apply when you want them to?

  • ||

    Me, I likes my pot, but you better get it from a trusty source. It can be adulterated just like anything else you put in your mouth by disreputable (or just plan incompetent) folk.

    In my entire life, neither I nor anyone I know in meatspace has ever smoked any adulterated reefer unless it was adulterated by the user themself. I've also never had adulterated LSD. No governemt inspections of either product.

  • Tamfang||

    In ~1989 I bought some pot from a stranger. I hadn't had any in a while but noticed that it was stronger than I remembered. Eventually a friend came over, sampled it and recognized symptoms of cocaïne (with which I've had no other experience).

  • ||

    Isn't fraud (marketing one thing as another, like, say psychedelics as pez) doubleplusungood among you Non-aggression principle peeps?

    Isn't the government randomly passing stupid ass laws about mythical problems, spending money to tilt at windmills kinda unsound in leftyland?

  • Elemenope||

    In my entire life, neither I nor anyone I know in meatspace has ever smoked any adulterated reefer unless it was adulterated by the user themself.

    I had a bad experience with some hash once, and that was from a reputable supplier.

    Isn't the government randomly passing stupid ass laws about mythical problems, spending money to tilt at windmills kinda unsound in leftyland?

    Like I said up at top, pretty much everyone turns into an idiot when it comes to drugs. Tilting at windmills, all the way to abandoning one's principles. Amazing, isn't it?

  • Taktix®||

    Isn't fraud (marketing one thing as another, like, say psychedelics as pez) doubleplusungood among you Non-aggression principle peeps?

    Not when the fraud doesn't exist. Much like the Iraq war, we are being told some danger exists in order to get us to support disingenous legistation. This bill isn't for "candy-looking" drugs, it's just a backdoor way to add another bullshit charge to another bullshit policy.

    The fraud is a sideshow, a freak act, a Lefiti...

  • Bobcat||

    The other point here, Elemenope, is this isn't fraud. This isn't selling meth and claiming it's candy. This is selling mythical candy-flavored meth. By your logic selling cherry vodka is fraud as it's not cherry juice.

  • Rick H.||

    Isn't fraud (marketing one thing as another, like, say psychedelics as pez) doubleplusungood among you Non-aggression principle peeps?

    Uh, meth is always going to be more expensive than candy.

    If this (completely nonexistent) problem qualifies as fraud, then we'll need laws against diamond sellers using dark ink to disguise their gems as raisins, so they can sell mass quantities to Kellogg's. Laws against selling vintage wine as dishwashing fluid. Etc.

    Only with the Drug War do you need to create a new species of every law already on the books every couple of weeks, just to keep politicians floating in the sweet, stoned euphoria of press coverage.

    Anyway, LMNOP, I can't see where you're going with this argument. The problem is, like most drug warrior legislation, this law is so completely divorced from real world facts it's totally insane. The SKFDDA should get its sponsors committed to an asylum. Bad laws are worse than no laws.

  • alan||

    When the day comes that cocaine is legal, and people who possess the 'politician gene' are hunted down and killed for their pelts, there will be a commercial for coke that goes:

    'Drip, Drip, drip, Drip, drip drip, MMMM, Colombian Gold Supreme, that's some GOOD drip!'

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    OBAMA HEROIN!

    Extra penalties for trying to lure the unsuspecting with a promise of change! Yes we can!

  • ||

    Kid one: Cmon take a hit
    Kid two: no, i'm afraid that the dope will rot my brain.
    kid one: it tastes like strawberries.
    Kid two: oh, well in that case...

  • Elemenope||

    By your logic selling cherry vodka is fraud as it's not cherry juice.

    Uh, no. It would be fraud if you put "This is cherry juice" on the label or otherwise advertised it as simply cherry juice.

    Anyway, LMNOP, I can't see where you're going with this argument.

    Where I'm going with this is that but for the fact that drugs are illegal, this sort of regulation *would not be out of the ordinary*. Manufacturers of ethylene glycol for antifreeze are required to put an embittering product in it for denaturing purposes, because unlike most poisons ethylene glycol actually tastes pretty good and a good number of kids died drinking it.

    Don't get me wrong; I think the drug war is stupid beyond reckoning, and any retrenchment in that regard is bad. As such, this legislation (as I said so originally) is stupid almost beyond words, esp. since unlike antifreeze deaths, I don't think this stuff actually even exists.

    But say for the sake of argument that meth were legal, and sold in the US. Would it be so terrible for it to not be allowed to come in fruity flavors? Can't you, I don't know, fucking mix it with strawberries at home if you wanted to? I know this is a dirty consequentialist way of thinking, but seriously if the costs and burdens are minimal and it prevents a decent amount of harm, WTF is your problem? There's no constitutional right to flavored pharmaceuticals, is there?

    Kid one: Cmon take a hit
    Kid two: no, i'm afraid that the dope will rot my brain.
    kid one: it tastes like strawberries.
    Kid two: oh, well in that case...


    This is pretty fucking funny.

  • ||

    Last I checked, unflavored meth was still illegal. So what possible difference does this law make?

    Oh I get it, it's "Double Secret Prohibition"!

  • cunnivore||

    It would be fraud if you put "This is cherry juice" on the label or otherwise advertised it as simply cherry juice.

    which is not analogous to what's supposedly happening here. The customers know they're getting meth, not candy. I guess you could say they're defrauding their taste buds, but then you'd be prosecuting anyone who sells aspartame or Olestra products as well.

  • ||

    I was just in Arkansas and I heard meth called "the tooth fairy" because it takes your teeth away. Maybe Fienstien heard this and is making a candy/rotten teeth connection.

  • ||

    I've developed a new product: Obama-flavored meth.

    Soon to be a hit on college campuses.

    Buy ten and get a free 'Yes we Can!' crack-pipe.

  • ||

    OBAMA HEROIN!

    Extra penalties for trying to lure the unsuspecting with a promise of change! Yes we can!


    Doh. Someone always has my good ideas first.

  • coop||

    I wonder if she is considering a candy flavored birth control pill that she is pushing through congress. It would stop kids from having kids.

  • dhex||

    "But say for the sake of argument that meth were legal, and sold in the US. Would it be so terrible for it to not be allowed to come in fruity flavors?"

    would it be so terrible if it did?

  • Shadow of the Past||

    I will only accept this law if it is accompanied by a provision that reduces your sentence by half if you sell asparagus-flavored meth.

  • Elemenope||

    would it be so terrible if it did?

    No, probably not *terrible*. But I understand the argument why it would be unfavorable.

    And like I said before, the infringement of liberty is literally trivial; if you want strawberry flavored meth, buy meth and sprinkle it on fucking strawberries.

  • ||

    Meth? No.

    LSD, on the other hand:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1653755/posts

    I think this woman ended up pleading to a misdemeanor and got her kid back.

  • bill||

    Aren't a lot of children's prescription drugs flavored and colored? These are "controlled substances". I can't wait till the head of Glaxo or Eli Lilly is thrown in jail.

  • Max D.||

    I read all the comments and no one has pointed out the glaringly obvious reason this law is so stupid: Nobody EATS meth!

    Seriously, have any of you people even tried it? You can snort it, you can shoot it, you can smoke it. But eat it? Gads! (And adulterated? Try baby laxative.)

    You people need to try more drugs, so you can speak from empirical wisdom.

  • ||

    "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down..."

  • ||

    I personally think this bill is a hidden crack down on the paraphernalia industry. In my local head shops, they sell a products for flavoring pot. You add a couple drops to the bowl, and it gives off a slight scent/taste of the designated flavor. Note the language used: "manufactures, creates, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute a controlled substance that is flavored..." It doesn't appear to be limited to just speed.

  • halfdoghalfdeer||

    am I being paranoid when I think this may be intended as simply a place holder for the days when nicotine, alcohol and unhealthy foods are routinely scheduled and prohibited?

  • Abdul||

    Bubble gum is my favorite meth flavor. What's yours?

  • some guy||

    it is easy to tell just by looking at a candy cigarette that it is not the real thing

    So the DEA will not look twice at my two tons of candy cigarettes imported from Colombia? Excellent.

  • ev||

    How exactly would one flavor meth? I mean...yeah you can hotrail it or something but usually one smokes meth. I don't get it. I don't think there exists a strawberry cigarette that actually tastes like strawberries either. Hmm. Plans a' brewin'.

  • Chuck||

    LMNOP--

    I think one of the points of the article was that the proposed statute is worded broadly enough so that there is a lot of potential for overly broad application. So, in that sense, the costs and burdens are not minimal, in addition to the simple fact that this is a solution in search of a problem.

    Max D.--

    People eat meth all the time.

  • Chuck||

    I personally think this bill is a hidden crack down on the paraphernalia industry. In my local head shops, they sell a products for flavoring pot. You add a couple drops to the bowl, and it gives off a slight scent/taste of the designated flavor.

    When I was in high school (late '70s) you could buy strwaberry-flavored rolling papers. I had forgotten all about that until now...

  • Xeones||

    asparagus-flavored meth

    But does it make your pee stink?

  • dhex||

    "And like I said before, the infringement of liberty is literally trivial; if you want strawberry flavored meth, buy meth and sprinkle it on fucking strawberries."

    considering the outwardly delusional approach the dea and co. generally have towards the war on drugs not sold by the drugstore, i am inclined to think this entire thing is a sideways approach towards paraphernalia or some other large, grasping overreach. i'm not a huge fan of crankers (or cokeheads, or myself if i'm drinking coffee) but i trust drug warriors even less. there's something going on, though it may just be the usual "for the children" approach.

    sidenote: oh to live in a world where lsd candy is available at the local mom n' pop...

  • Ravac||

    LMNOP,

    Are you also outraged at Godiva liqueur? Kirsch? Schnapps? Wine? After all, they're chocolate, cherry, peppermint, and grape-flavored alcoholic beverages respectively. Kids must love 'em!

    The last I heard, you still had to be 21 to buy 'em legally though.

  • Zeb||

    "People eat meth all the time."

    I don't think swallowing it in pill form is quite the same.

  • ||

    But say for the sake of argument that meth were legal, and sold in the US. Would it be so terrible for it to not be allowed to come in fruity flavors?

    Yes. Outlawing chocolate flavored cigarettes is terrible (an infringement of commercial liberty) too.

    That wasn't even difficult.

  • Tyler||

    So instead of parents worrying about their kids taking candy from strangers...

    ...they should direct their efforts to telling their kids not to buy a glass pipe, spend (at least) a month's allowance for a piece of candy, put that candy in the pipe and smoke it, because it tastes good. Because that's what these congressmen seem to think is all the rage.

  • Jordan||

    There's no constitutional right to flavored pharmaceuticals, is there?



    I think you meant to say "There's no constitutional basis for banning flavored pharmaceuticals, is there?"

  • Chuck||

    Outlawing chocolate flavored cigarettes is terrible (an infringement of commercial liberty) too.

    But what about cigarette-flavored chocolate?

  • JD||

    Max D. - Yeah, but people smoke tobacco, they don't eat it, and yet there's a huge variety of flavored tobaccos out there. (Which, IIRC, have also come under fire from our Benevolent Overlords, because obviously flavors only appeal to young children.)

  • she-troll||

    Personally, I'm more worried about kids taking pharmaceuticals as prescribed by teachers

  • she-troll||

    It's a well known fact that one's taste buds die at age 21.

  • ||

    """I personally think this bill is a hidden crack down on the paraphernalia industry. In my local head shops, they sell a products for flavoring pot."""

    That sound horrible. Buy better tasting pot.

    I've heard of people drinking meth. I guess you could mix it with your favorite Kool-aid flavor.

  • oat willie||

    "When I was in high school (late '70s) you could buy strwaberry-flavored rolling papers. I had forgotten all about that until now..."

    The strawberry ones were pink and there were banana-flavored ones which were yellow. Good times...

  • SpongePaul||

    I have to agree with the other posters who voice that this is a law desinged to get at "other problems" because with this law, cartoon hits, lables from med mj clinics. even x tabs with a dove or bear or something on them. any weed sold in colored baggies etc. This is a way to double the time handed out for non violent offenses, without appearing to do so. it will go under the radar, whilst sentences double.

  • ||

    Speaking of Meth laws, I needed some real cold medicine. The girl at the register had to enter my driver's license information for me to buy friggin Advil Cold & Sinus. It was 12 bucks for the box.

    I guess asking for cold medicine without a song and dance is too much to ask in America.

  • ||

    A candy-coloured clown, they call her Feinstein, tip-toes through my room every night...

  • Slava Lenkov||

    Halloween is coming up. My kids are very excited to go trick or treating. Right now the drug world is so crazy so I don't even know if I want to take my kids trick or treating. I heard that people put meth that looks like candy inside of little packages and give them out to kids. They look just like candy and kids don't know any better so they eat it and they could die.

  • Bubbl3z jp||

    to all meth users you are being stupid and thats all there is to it.stop doing meth before it stops you!!!!
    4rm a girl.

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement