Florida Prohibitionists Fight Medical Marijuana With Halloween Legend

Cannabis candy in trick-or-treat bags is "a very real scenario," they warn. It's not.


Don't Let Florida Go to Pot

In 2014, the last time Florida voters considered a medical marijuana ballot initiative, opponents warned that doctor-approved pot cookies would abet rape. This year anti-pot groups are warning that cannabis candy made for patients could be surreptitiously handed out to children on Halloween, despite the fact that there are no confirmed cases of anything like that happening in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

"It is almost impossible for anyone, let alone a child, to tell a marijuana gummy bear or cookie from the real thing," said Calvina Fay, director of the Drug Free America Foundation, at a press conference on Monday, a week before Halloween and two weeks before voters decide the fate of Amendment 2, which would allow the use of marijuana for the treatment of eight specified diseases as well as "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated." The No on 2 group Don't Let Florida Go to Pot says "Florida children who go door to door for candy on Halloween may one day be at risk of receiving edible marijuana products if Amendment 2 comes to pass." The group claims "it's a very real scenario playing out in states like California, Washington and Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized."

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) has joined other opponents of Amendment 2 in hyping the mythical menace of marijuana edibles in trick-or-treat bags. "After other states approved legislation," said FSA President Jerry Demings, the Orange County sheriff, "they saw a surge in marijuana edible products that are clearly attractive to children, advertised and marketed in commonly recognized edibles such as lollipops, candy bars, Pot-Tarts, and Krondike Bars."

What those states did not see, however, was a surge in tots tripping on THC-tainted treats they got from sneaky strangers on Halloween. The hazard described by Fay and Demings did not materialize in Colorado after medical marijuana became legal there in 2001, after dispensaries began proliferating in 2009, or after state-licensed recreational sales started in 2014. If surreptitious dosing of trick-or-treaters with cannabis candy has happened in any of the two dozen other states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use, it seems to have escaped the attention of police and the press. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Demings "could not offer examples of children receiving laced Halloween candy in states where medical marijuana is legal." Miami New Times noted that "zero cases" have been documented in Colorado or Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

That's hardly surprising, since pranksters have little incentive to substitute expensive marijuana edibles for cheap Halloween candy, especially since they would not get to witness the results, which would kick in up to two hours after ingestion. The fear of cannabis-infused Halloween candy, which goes back a decade at least and has been used for political purposes in the past (against California's Proposition 19 in 2010, for instance), is a variation on older urban legends about poison, needles, razor blades, and glass shards lurking in trick-or-treat bags. Last Halloween hysterical cops and yellow journalists put a new twist on these stories, warning parents that candy-colored MDMA tablets might be mixed in with their kids' Jolly Rancher gummies and miniature peanut butter cups.

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  1. I need a Zonka bar.

    1. Cherry flavor Pot Tarts are the breakfast of champions.

      1. I larfed

    2. Brian – teach me how to dance with glee.

  2. Am I the only one who thinks they simply need to charge parents who fail to check their children’s candy?

  3. Not gonna lie, if Nugtella was a thing i would eat nothing else.

  4. Remember when Colorado legalized ? Jan 1, 2014 was the date on which pot became legal, and just 3 days later a 2 year old was playing alone outside in the winter and ate a pot cookie that someone had left on the ground. The toddler actually did test positive for THC. This totally plausible scenario is why pot is the devil weed and must remain illegal.

    1. And the kid’s life was ruined forever.

      Or he felt funny for a day and nothing else happened. One of those.

      1. The other funny thing is how the pot totally negated the mom’s obvious cover story of how a two year old tested positive for THC. Let your 11 year old walk to school alone? You’re a monster, call CPS. Leave your two year old outside unattended in the winter to eat a drug infused cookie ? Blame the pot.

    2. So what you’re saying is, in almost three years of legalization, in a state with more than 5 million residents, you can point to one (1) confirmed case of weed inadvertently ending up in a child’s hands? Pretty good track record. Because it’s never happened with alcohol, right?

      1. What I’m saying is that Mom’s story of how the kid tested positive for THC is bullshit.

        1. My apologies. Didn’t pick up the /sarc.

          1. At least I was trying to be sarcastic. I recall how this was a straight news story, related as a direct consequence of legalization, when it is so obviously implausible that any rational person would know that mom was lying.

      2. That means there’s a mandate for a new law named after that poor child.

    3. Yeah, I remember all the media scare mongering and pants shitting about how the children’s playgrounds in Denver would soon be ruled by reefer maddened zombies who would shoot the toddlers up with pot and then eat their faces. Well, that’s not exactly what they said, but what they actually said was no less ridiculous. That went on for a few weeks and nothing else happened. Someone in Denver got a bad case of munchies and someone else laughed too much at something that wasn’t funny I guess.

      1. I wish I could remember which Colorado city tried to claim that since the city owns the streets and sidewalks, they were in fact the “private property” of the city, and the city could under Amendment 64 ban pot from its private property.

        Democracy? Will of the people ? Fuck that, we are still gonna find a way to ban the marijuanas.

  5. I prefer to give out bottles of single malt. Or,a good Cab.

  6. Oh mah gawds, this is scarier than scary clowns! Someone save the chillins!

  7. I don’t buy it.

    Why would you waste your stash on some dumb-ass kids? Especially if it’s awesome like that?

    That stuff is expensive.

  8. Those all look like trademark violations, TBH.

  9. DFAF was started by Kevin Sabet, who lated joined with David Frum to start SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana. David Frum is George Bush’s “axis of evil” guy. Their basic strategies are “What about the children” and “You can’t have freedom without security”. So yeah, these guys are warmongers. The “War on Drugs” is ending, and the “War on Terror” is next to bite the dust. They must feel like it’s an all-out war on them.

    1. Their basic strategies are “What about the children” and “You can’t have freedom without security”.

      Well, at least they’re original. No one else has ever used that before.

  10. OT, but over at NYT, there’s an article claiming that if Hillary wins by even one single vote, that’s a ‘resounding mandate’ for her to push through strong new legislation to ‘protect’ the wiminz. Trump is salmonella and Hillary is ‘salmon with cucumber and dill’. Yes, the author really said that. Do these people have any realization of how stupid they sound to most of us little people of the world? Or maybe I’m wrong, has anyone else ever thought of Hillary as ‘salmon with cucumber and dill’?

    1. So the author is saying Hillary smells like fish ?

    2. Salmon with cucumber and dill that someone ate and shat out already.

    3. She will absolutely claim that it is. That’s why all the “never trump” people who vote for Clinton because their votes for Johnson or Stein would be wasted are making a huge mistake. There are no votes *against* anything, only votes *for*…and those votes will be held up by the winner as proof positive of a mandate.

  11. “It is almost impossible for anyone, let alone a child, to tell a marijuana gummy bear or cookie from the real thing,”

    Well, except for the horrible taste and all the seeds and leaves.

  12. Hmm, am I going to keep the really fun and expensive thing for myself, or am I going to give it away to some random costumed mini-stranger…

    Only a socialist would find this an issue.

  13. I agree with the commentator from yesterday. It is time we banned Halloween, because it is clear that we as a society are incapable of handling this holiday.

    Start with the annual stories about razors, glass shards, pot, speed, poison, and everything else short of nuclear weapons being hidden in candy. Add in the now-annual warnings about inappropriate, offensive, threatening, and culturally-appropriative (is that even a word?) costumes. Mix in the annual panic spread by health nuts over the “excessive” sugar in candy and resulting obsesity. And there are workplace issues. The Society of Human Resources Management sent me a panic email two years ago warning that if I did not immediately adopt a “Halloween policy” in my office, I risked being sued for sexual harassment over inappropriate costumes, disability discrimination for offering candy to diabetics and employees with food allergies, and religious discrimination against those who believe that celebrating Halloween constitutes Pagan worship — it was specifically recommended that I offer such persons the day off with pay so that they did not need to be exposed to anything Halloween related. Top this all off with this year’s clown panic.

    It ain’t worth it anymore.

  14. Best. Halloween. Ever.

  15. Legal, regulated industries like Colorado have already banned products that appeal to children or bear resemblance to existing brands and put in place safeguards to prevent accidental consumption.
    Requiring marijuana edibles manufacturers to put a safety symbol on the actual food product prevents situations where a child or adult might eat a marijuana infused product because they had no way of knowing it contained cannabis.
    There’s no need for costly molds, printers, or lazers. Cannacals? only take seconds to cover this rice crispy!

  16. Once again, may I just say fuck the Florida Sheriff’s Association, with the exception of Gordon Smith.

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