(Image: The Nikolai Nuthouse)
Oct 30, 2014
Forbes - In a recent column, I noted the lack of evidence that people try to get kids high on Halloween by passing off cannabis candy as ordinary treats. The closest thing I found to that that sort of incident was a 2000 case in Hercules, California, involving marijuana disguised as miniature chocolate bars that turned up in children’s trick-or-treat bags. Police traced the pot to a postal worker, who obtained it from an undeliverable package without realizing what was actually inside the wrappers. The San Francisco Chronicle explained:
"The treats were the product of a failed and undetected attempt to mail 5 ounces of marijuana to someone in San Francisco, said Hercules Police Chief Mike Tye.
“Somebody tried to mail it and didn’t have enough postage or the address was wrong,” he said.
Because the package, which contained four bags of Snickers bars destined for San Francisco, did not have a return address, it landed in the dead-letter office—where it was taken by a postal employee who planned to hand the candies out to trick-or-treaters.
“A lot of their dead mail, stuff that’s nonperishable, is given away to charity,” Tye said. “(The employee) picked up the candy along with a bunch of canned goods. He took the other items to a church but kept the candy.”
Because police were convinced that the postal worker had made an honest mistake, he was neither charged nor publicly named. His error is obviously quite different from deliberately giving out marijuana-infused candy
disguised as unspiked versions of the same products: Not only was the marijuana distribution inadvertent, but no one would mistake marijuana buds for a Snickers bar once the package was opened. Press coverage of the incident may nevertheless have fed rumors about malicious strangers trying to trick kids into ingesting cannabis.
Although no such pranks have been discovered so far in Colorado
, where dispensaries have been selling marijuana edibles for years, police in that state are urging parents to be on the lookout for candy that is unfamiliar or seems to have been tampered with. Such precautions hardly seem adequate in dealing with a determined cannabis concealer, who could always rewrap marijuana-infused treats in familiar packaging or dose conventional candy with store-bought tincture.
(Image: Denver Police Department)
For parents who worry about such trickery, CB Scientific has a solution: a kit that you can use to quickly test Halloween treats for cannabis. The Denver-based company, which should be paying a commission to cops in Denver and Pueblo, sells the kits, each of which can be used to test three samples, for $15, so the cost of screening every tiny chocolate bar, jawbreaker, and jelly bean can quickly add up. It would be considerably cheaper just to throw out the entire haul and buy your kid replacement candy, although you can never be completely sure that no one has tampered with the stuff at the store either. As far as we know, it has never happened. But it’s possible!
Addendum: Via Facebook, Derek Lebahn, a partner at CB Scientific, tells me he thinks the risk highlighted by police in Colorado has been blown out of proportion:
"Thanks for the mention, but the Halloween story about CB Scientific is strictly a product of timing. The problem had been identified by the news and Denver PD for weeks and we happened to have just released a solution. We do not believe that any children in Denver will be randomly given THC candy by adults. If it happens, it will be by a relative or irresponsible teenager."
Lebahn emphasizes that his company’s test kits are mainly intended for “patients, adult consumers, parents of patients, breeders and producers” who want to “quickly and accurately know the relative levels of THC and CBD potency in their products.
” Still, CB Scientific clearly capitalized on the candy scare. Its home page features CBS Denver’s story about its product, which emphasizes the Halloween angle, and Lebahn proudly notes the coverage on his Facebook page. “We did it,” he writes. “Our news story has gone Viral.” Then Lebahn adds: “Not that we believe anyone will be passing out pot candy to kids, but if something does get mixed up or questioned, we do have a quick, accurate way of knowing.”