City of Orlando declares today 'THC Awareness Day'; OCSO holds conference on dangers of THC edibles


The city of Orlando declared Monday, Oct. 24, “THC Awareness Day” at the behest of the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of Tampa Bay, which has sponsored similar THC Awareness Days in Clearwater, Largo, Safety Harbor and other Florida cities. Additionally, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings holds a press conference today to "educate Floridians about the dangers of edible marijuana products this Halloween."

The main quibble for both parties is with edibles. CBA spokesman David Clouden said in a statement, "Candy bars, gummy bears, lollipops and other foods clearly packaged and marketed to children are laced with dangerous levels of THC. ... How is a parent, let alone a child, supposed to know that one gummy bear can contain enough THC to intoxicate an adult for hours?" 

"According to experts," states a release sent out by the Sheriff's Office to announce their Edible Marijuana Awareness Media Conference, "based upon what is happening in states where marijuana has been legalized, parents in Florida could have a lot more than sugar to contend with in the coming years if Amendment 2 is approved by voters on Nov. 8." The press conference will be held at Children’s Safety Village, 910 Fairvilla Road, at 11 a.m. today.

The language of Amendment 2 proposes tightly controlled sale of medical marijuana products such as "food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments" to patients diagnosed with one of a specific list of diseases. Politifact rates the idea that Amendment 2 would allow weed-laced candy to be sold in Florida only "half-true," pointing out that the "uptick of children being hospitalized in many of those states for eating marijuana-laced candy" can't be considered attributable to legalized medical marijuana, since in many of the cases it isn't known whether the edibles kids go their hands on were made from medical marijuana or from another source of weed, including the simple case of people making their own brownies and candies from cannabis in bud form.

Politifact continues:
A health department spokeswoman pointed out that under current Florida law allowing medical marijuana for some epileptics and terminal patients, the only prohibited form is smoking, which Amendment 2 would allow.

That leaves us to look to see how other states handle guidelines about things like packaging and sales practices.

Washington, for example, bans products designed to appeal to kids. Connecticut requires tamper-resistant packages just like prescription drugs. California, which is phasing in new regulations, requires labels warning patients to keep products away from children. New Jersey only allows edibles in lozenge form, which were previously only available to child patients to take at school. ... Colorado this year banned some products shaped like people, fruit or animals.
It can't be denied that overindulging in weed-laced candy has sent people to the hospital as it's become more common. However, it seems incredibly unlikely anyone will be handing it out for Halloween – that shit is expensive.

Ben Pollara, director of United for Care, an advocacy group working for Amendment 2, said a child getting into an adult’s medical marijuana presents the same issues as any medication, and it's up to the adult to prevent accidents from happening.

"Put it away," he said. "That’s Parenting 101."

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