Parents warned deceptively packaged products could contain cannabis
Just days before Halloween, parents are being warned to keep their eyes out for another form of deceptive packaging that poses a risk to children.
Products deceptively packaged to look just like standard snack foods and candy actually contain high levels of cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), warns New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The products, which are illegal and unregulated in New York state, can be extremely dangerous to human health, the Office of the Attorney General warns, urging parents statewide to remain alert against the online sale of the misleading products.
"In light of an increase in accidental overdoses among children nationwide, it is more vital than ever that we do everything we can to curb this crisis and prevent any further harm, or even worse, death," James says.
Containing high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, the products pose a high risk to children that, if consumed, can lead to accidental overdose, the office warns.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the most common overdose incidents among children involve ingestion of edible cannabis foods, and these incidents are on the rise.
In 2020, more than 70 percent of calls related to marijuana edibles to the Poison Control Center involved children under the age of 5, according to the Office of the Attorney General. In the first half of 2021, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported that poison control hotlines have received an estimated 2,622 calls for services related to young children ingesting illegal cannabis products.
Although New York state legalized adult-use cannabis earlier this year, products such as these that are for non-medical use are not yet being sold in the state legally.
In other states where non-medical cannabis products are permitted for sale, a single adult serving size of an edible cannabis product contains 5 milligrams of THC, but a standard bag of lookalike Cheetos brand product contains 600 milligrams of THC, her office warns. A child consuming these products would be consuming 120 times the maximum legal adult serving in those states.
Systems of THC overdose include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy, and loss of consciousness. New Yorkers who suspect that their child has become sick from consuming food containing high amounts of THC are encouraged to call the New York Regional Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222.
New Yorkers who are aware of or have encountered these type of products are encouraged to contact the OAG by submitting a complaint form online or by calling (800) 771-7755.