Police in Gloucester County, New Jersey, are warning parents to be on the lookout for marijuana edibles and cannabis-laced candy that could be handed out to children on Halloween. And at least one local news channel in Philadelphia is getting high on the fear.
Philadelphia's Fox 29 published an entirely uncritical account of the warnings, telling parents and families to be "extra careful" about the possibility of marijuana-infused candy ending up in their kids' bags this Halloween. Apparently we are supposed to be particularly worried about gummy candies. Why? Because "there is a significant presence of marijuana candy and other edible forms in New Jersey and other nearby states."
The rest of the story goes along much like that, with no explanation for why drug dealers might want to secretly give away their expensive products to children they don't know and no effort to get cops to explain why they might want to do that. There's not so much as a single sentence admitting how little evidence there is of this inexplicable activity occurring on Halloween to support the annual law enforcement warnings.
Instead, there is vague, scary language like this:
"Marijuana candy is illegal in the state of New Jersey and contains THC, the main active ingredient that causes a high." Did you know that marijuana candy contains marijuana? Spoooooky!
"The candy often imitates other hard or gummy candy or chocolate." Yep, marijuana candy, the master of disguise and winner of the best costume award!
"Because of the similarities between marijuana candy and brand name candy, it is often difficult to distinguish the difference based on appearance alone." Sure. But it will smell and taste awful funny, or it will look homemade or have come from a state where edibles are legal and will, therefore, say that right on the label. Actually, it's not such a good imitation of real candy after all.
Parents should take reasonable safety measures on Halloween. Despite growing up at a time (the distant era of the mid-1990s) when kids weren't bubble-wrapped at all times, my parents always did a quick inspection of my Halloween candy haul. That was fine by me.
But scare tactics like this don't make any sense. Pot edibles are not on sale for $4.99/lb this week at Walmart. And if a drug dealer is making their own edibles or importing them from somewhere else, that's a heck of a lot of time and money spent to get random kids high.
Unfortunately, this sort of reefer madness is probably going to be with us for a while. A new Gallup poll found that 64 percent of all American adults and 51 percent of Republicans think "the use of marijuana should be made legal." As more states legalize the drug for adults to use recreationally, you can bet the drug warriors will retreat to the redoubt of "What about the children?" Halloween is the perfect time for it.
Here's a quick round-up of Reason's best Halloween marijuana scares from the recent past
- Prohibitionists Say Bogus Candy Scare Proves Legal Pot Endangers Trick-or-Treaters
- Illinois Sheriff Passes Off Japanese Candy as Marijuana-Infused Halloween Treat
- Florida Prohibitionists Fight Medical Marijuana With Halloween Legend
- New Halloween Menace: Meth in Your Kid's Candy Bag
- Police Warnings Save Children From Pot-Laced Halloween Treats
- Here's the Anti-Marijuana Tract Some Lady Gave My Three-Year-Old Trick-or-Treater
- Are People Really Trying to Drug Kids With Marijuana-Laced Halloween Candy?
- The Mythical Menace of Marijuana-Infused Halloween Candy