Cannabis vs. Halloween: Propaganda at it’s worst
It’s October, and you know what that means, it’s time the warnings of scary things showing up in your children’s Halloween candy. This year I will like to clear the record once and for all and announce NO ONE WILL EVER GIVE YOUR CHILDREN MARIJUANA INFUSED PRODUCTS FOR HALLOWEEN. EVER! Every year I am bombarded by bullshit new stories warning parent of the horrors of their children’s candy being “dosed” or “laced”. Every year I feel enraged that the nation pays more attention to this and spend resources on a non-issue. While some may argue, “But, there is always going to be one sick, demented person out there who would do probably something like that.” To that I say, maybe, but it is so unlikely it is ridiculous. First, cannabis candies and edibles are EXPENSIVE. Second, patients and consumers are not going to hand out their cannabis edibles to children, they want them for themselves. Third, there is no documented case of a child receiving cannabis infused Halloween candy. This propaganda has roots in urban legends and old wives tales.
For YEARS the puritanical, conservative, busy-bodies in our nation have been creating propaganda to discourage anyone from having TOO much fun. Alcohol and cigarette taxes, gambling regulations, prostitution, cannabis, and, yes, HALLOWEEN. It is so fascinating that the old adage of pins, needles and razor blades in candy has faded, only to be replaced with a new cannabis “villain” who gives marijuana laced candy to children on Halloween.
9News.com (Denver, CO) conducted an examination of these warnings in 2017 for a story that aired last October: https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/verify/verify-is-marijuana-laced-halloween-candy-an-actual-concern/73-487791293. It is more likely, as happened in the case in New Jersey, that a child will get into a parents unattended and unsecured candies. Leaving cannabis unsecured in any form around a child is irresponsible behavior.
Snopes.com provides a fairly in depth look at how this urban legend took form. In the 1960’s there was a “poisoned candy” scare that began to grip the nation. From Scopes.com: As author Jack Santino noted in his history of Halloween, “pins and needles” rumors began to supplant “poisoned candy” rumors in the mid-1960s, and nearly all such reports of such rumors proved to be hoaxes:
Beginning in 1967 the focus of the legend shifted dramatically from poison to razors and sharp objects hidden in apples. The emergence of the razor blade motif remains to be studied, but it apparently spread rapidly in several areas of the eastern seaboard and Canada: The New York Times reported thirteen cases from isolated communities in New Jersey and noted “several” others in Ottawa and Toronto. Outrage was so strong in New Jersey that the state legislature passed a law shortly before Halloween 1968 mandating prison terms for those caught boobytrapping apples. This did not forestall the discovery of thirteen more apples with razor blades that year in five New Jersey counties.
In many cases, The New York Times story noted that “children were cut,” but the more detailed accounts include suspicious details. In one case a boy came to his parents with an apple containing a razor blade. He had bit into an apple, he said, but not quite deeply enough to contact the blade. In another, the child said he found the blade while cutting out a rotten spot; in a third case, the razor was found when a child turned an apple over to his father for peeling. In all these detailed cases, the child was not injured, and because he was the immediate source of the apple, it seems possible that he was also the source of the blade. As Best and Horiuchi (authors of the Razor Blade) note, more than 75 percent of reported cases involved no injury, and detailed followups in 1972 and 1982 concluded that virtually all the reports were hoaxes concocted by the children or parents. Thus this legend type seems to have grown out of a tradition of ostensive hoaxes relying on an understood oral tradition, rather than on any core of authenticated incidents.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/pins-and-needles/)
While Halloween treats have been reportedly tainted in the past, there is limited evidence in modern history of Halloween candy being contaminated. Generally, parents check the Halloween candy before it is consumed. Most legal cannabis states have restrictions on edibles that ensure they are not in a form that would be appealing to children. Gone are the days of the edible gummy bear. All edibles come in child-proof packaging (difficult for even an adult to figure out how to open, similar to packaging for medicine), and in Colorado, all edibles have a stamp on the product that says “THC” with an “!”.
It is unfortunate that we allow a few freak incidents influence our behavioral patterns for generations. We continue to fear a boogieman when there are so many real threats that are not given the focus they require. Don’t be fooled by threats created to maintain a negative stigma surrounding cannabis. Educate your friends and family. Keep your cannabis locked up, and safely stowed. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy Halloween!