Gale Curcio, a freelance writer in Alexandria, Virginia, inadvertently took a bite of a cannabis-infused candy bar and got really dizzy. Who is to blame for this mishap?
A. Curcio's 26-year-old son, who left the candy bar on the kitchen counter.
B. Curcio, who ate the candy without looking at the wrapper, which identified it as "medical cannabis chocolate" containing 210 milligrams of THC. The wrapper also had a notice on the front that said "WARNING: MEDICAL CANNABIS CHOCOLATE" and another on the back that said, "Warning: This product contains a high level of THC. Not a food. Keep away from children."
C. GFarmaLabs, the California company that made the candy bar.
Curcio, who relates the incident as the centerpiece of a Washington Post article about the perils of commercially produced marijuana edibles, favors C. I lean toward a combination of A and B. Curcio's son, who got the candy bar from "a friend of a friend of a friend [who] had brought it from California, where medical marijuana is legal," obviously was careless, so most of the responsibility lies with him. But Curcio says she "thr[ew] away a wrapper before I came across that piece of candy," which makes it unclear whether the chocolate was wrapped when she encountered it. "Even with the wrapper," she insists, "it would be easy to overlook the fact that this was no normal candy bar." If only there had been a fourth warning…
As I have said before, edibles can be tricky, so consumers should be careful with them. Manufacturers are adjusting to newly legal recreational markets by offering low-dose products and instructions aimed at infrequent users. But in this case, the problem was that Curcio (unlike Maureen Dowd) did not realize what she was eating, which made her symptoms especially scary but cannot fairly be blamed on the manufacturer. Even if the chocolate itself had been stamped with cannabis leaves, Curcio still might not have noticed as she absentmindedly ate the absentmindedly abandoned candy. At some point consumers (in this case, mainly Curcio's son) need to take responsibility for what they do with psychoactive products.