A selection of marijuana edibles available in Colorado. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

No reports of kids’ Halloween candy laced with marijuana

DENVER — Denver-area authorities said Monday they received no reports of children accidentally eating pot-laced candies this Halloween. Police had warned parents to be on the lookout for the edibles, which can look almost identical to brand-name treats.

Denver Police and the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center reported no cases of people slipping marijuana to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

“We didn’t have any admissions for accidental ingestion for children in our Pediatric (Emergency Department) this weekend,” said Kelli Christensen, spokesperson for
Denver Health Medical Center in central Denver. “People got the message and were very diligent about it, so it was a successful holiday from our end.”

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The popularity of pot candies in the new retail market in Colorado prompted warnings this fall from police in Denver, Fort Collins and Pueblo. They urged parents to be vigilant.

Advocacy organization Smart Colorado posted two billboards around Denver in the weeks leading up to Halloween asking the question, “Can you spot the pot? Marijuana candy: Trick or treat?” Smart’s ongoing educational campaign points out that some pot-infused candies look exactly like their non-infused counterparts.

“There was no accidental ingestion by children this Halloween, and that’s the only outcome we could hope for,” said Rachel O’Bryan, co-founder and attorney for Smart Colorado. “But we want to keep kids safe 365 days a year, not just on one day a year.

“We’re happy to take a little bit of credit for the way (Halloween) turned out, and we give credit to the Denver Police Department, too. The average Coloradan isn’t aware of the variety of products that marijuana is a part of.”

The Denver Police released a video in early October with the same intentions of Smart’s billboards.

Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson says its educational campaign helped. His department in suburban Denver received no reports of children accidentally consuming the drug or parents finding it among their candy stashes.

“It’s just another area where we have to be really vigilant from now into the foreseeable future so we don’t have a problem,” Jackson said. “Now, you’re not just looking for razor blades anymore.”

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Joe Hodas, of marijuana edibles company Dixie Elixirs, said the warnings were “overblown and ridiculous.” Parents should scrutinize their kids’ Halloween candy but most people who use edibles are diligent about keeping them away from children, he said.

“We’re relieved but not surprised as to the results of Halloween,” said Hodas, who penned an op-ed for this site last week under the headline, “Opinion: ‘Halloweed’ candy hysteria is unfounded and insulting, so let’s stop.” “There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation directed at trying to scare people about the products.”

In Washington state, the only other state with legal recreational pot sales, officials have been more circumspect. A sheriff’s detective in Pierce County, Washington wrote a newspaper column saying pot showing up in treat-or-treaters’ bags was an urban myth, partly because edibles are expensive and hard to get.

“I think there was some fear-mongering going on there,” said Drew Fowler, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, which also saw no pot-infused candy winding up in trick-or-treaters’ bags.

The Washington Poison Center, which last week warned parents to be on the lookout for cannabis candy, did not immediately return messages left Monday asking whether it had received any reports.

The Cannabist’s Ricardo Baca contributed to this report.