Pot candy panic first kicked into high gear in 2014, the year the country's first recreational marijuana markets opened in Colorado and Washington state. Edible products, candy among them, proved to be surprisingly popular among pot consumers, accounting for nearly 50 percent of all legal marijuana sales in Colorado in 2014.
Colorado subsequently devised stricter regulations on edible products, including guidelines for packaging and bans on certain shapes of candy, such as gummy bears. But edibles remain a popular target for legalization opponents, who contend that the products deliberately target children — never mind that adults love candy and brownies, too.
Law enforcement groups are often at the vanguard of opposition to legal marijuana, and they also tend to be the origin of most “warnings” of marijuana-tainted Halloween candy.
Last week, for instance, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office sent out a public advisory warning parents to “Check #Halloween candy for #marijuana infused candy.” The advisory included an anecdote about a 10-year-old New York boy who was sent to the emergency room after accidentally ingesting marijuana gummies.
Another reason is that despite public fears, most people just don't seem to be that interested in harming children on Halloween. A review of “Halloween Sadism” by University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best found that reports of deliberate harm via Halloween candy were rare, and most of them turned out to be hoaxes or not actually linked to candy.
“I have been unable to find a substantiated report of a child being killed or seriously injured by a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick-or-treating,” Best concluded.
And while legally available marijuana candy is something of a new phenomenon, America has a long tradition of lacing sweets with another, far more toxic drug — alcohol. Yet while alcohol contributes to roughly 88,000 deaths each year, boozy candy somehow manages to stay out of the Halloween headlines.