Keeping Kids’ Hands Out Of The Cookie Pot

Since the Obama administration announced that it wouldn’t challenge Colorado’s medicinal marijuana laws, Dr. George Sam Wang “began seeing kids in the ER with some pretty severe symptoms from consuming marijuana”. In a recent study, he points his finger at edibles:

Wang found that after Colorado changed its marijuana laws in late 2009, 14 kids under the age of 12 came to his hospital to be treated for ingesting marijuana. Eight of the 14 cases involved medical marijuana, and seven of the kids had eaten pot-laced food. Their symptoms ranged from lethargy to respiratory problems. Two kids ended up in the intensive care unit. The results of Wang’s study — one of the first to look at how changes in state laws that legalize marijuana affect kids — appear this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“It is ironic that we’re seeing these unintended consequences of these [medical marijuana products] we decided to allow in public,” Wang tells The Salt. “But our goal was to educate the public so that we can try and keep things out of kids’ hands and prevent these cases.”

Colorado recently passed a law based on toxicologist Michael Kosnett’s recommendation:

The solution, [Kosnett] says, is not to ban the products but to require child-resistant packaging for marijuana edibles. “What was concerning to us was that here were dispensaries selling products very clearly labeled as drugs, but yet these stores were not packaging them like other medications,” says Kosnett. “We know from experiencing that use of child-resistant packaging has been highly effective at preventing poisoning of children.”

Jacob Sullum doubts this will work:

Retailers can be forced to sell cannabis candy and pastries in resealable hard plastic containers with child-resistant locks, but consumers cannot be forced to put half-eaten edibles back in those cases and relock them.