Marijuana has come a long way since the days when you would just roll a joint and smoke it. Nowadays you can pop a pill, drink it, spray it, dab it, vape it, sprinkle it, insert it (hello, suppositories), and eat it.
One of the most common edibles? Candy.
As sales competition grows, many marijuana companies are turning to eye-catching packaging and fun names to entice consumers.
Copycat cannabis products are marketed to closely resemble already popular mainstream candy.
This is a problem particularly for our kids, and one mom is speaking out.
A Florida mom is calling for safer packaging of marijuana edibles after her 6-year-old daughter ended up in the ER after accidentally eating a THC gummy, believing it was candy.
Morgan McCoy took to Facebook to share her story in a post that has since gone viral. She starts her post off by saying:
How did our beautiful 6 year old overdose on THC you ask? Let me tell you how…
We went home to visit my in-laws in Jacksonville over the weekend. They had 30-40 friends and their families in town visiting for the weekend.
We are a group of legal, medical marijuana patients. Not one iota of this product was illegally purchased to my knowledge. I have never seen it before.
She goes on to explain that while she was out visiting her siblings, her husband stayed behind to hang out with their friends at the pool. One of the friends’ children, a two-year-old, took “a running dive into the pool” and had to be rescued by his parent.
The parent jumped in fully clothed, with a bag containing one weed gummy in their pocket. The friend, who was staying in the room the McCoy family usually stays in, later changed into dry clothes and put the package in the dresser between some clothes.
The 6-year-old found it and she ate it. Because kids.
My candy-whore of a daughter went in looking for HER clothes, because this is the room she normally stays in… she came across the bag and, like any 6 year old would… She ate the candy.
And who can blame her when the package looks like this:
Which is eerily familiar to any other candy package, no? (And she is SIX. She would not have been able to read or understand “cannabis infused gummies.”)
McCoy added this picture of Hawaiian Punch to showcase the similarities.
McCoy returned from her visit a couple of hours later to find all of the kids sleeping after a long day in the sun. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Fast forward two more hours, the adults were sitting around talking and “shooting shit” when:
All of a sudden the parent came outside and told me that my daughter may have taken a THC gummy… UHHH What the feck…
McCoy quickly ran into the house to check on her daughter and found her completely non-responsive. She yelled for help.
I turned around and yelled for my MIL to call 911… she asked if she was okay and as I turned back around she was on her knees seizing.
EMT arrived and took her daughter to the hospital where she spent the night. Doctors monitored her and gave her fluids while her parents anxiously watched over her.
I was up all night with my husband watching those machines. Her breaths per minute would drop to single digits at times, her heart rate would shoot up to alarming levels at others.
In an interview with Today, McCoy said that “even after three-quarters of a bag of fluids, her urine was still brown. So it definitely affected her kidneys in a negative way.”
Her daughter was released the following day.
The McCoys do not blame the other parent, no arrests have been made and DCF cleared the case in 3 minutes.
McCoy hopes that by sharing her experience she can help prevent this from happening to anyone else. She is also calling out for change. While some states have laws banning candy-like labeling and packaging, many do not.
She wants there to be federal regulation on the packaging.
Had the packaging been what it should be and not this bullshit, my daughter wouldn’t have looked twice at it.
So far, McCoy has contacted her local representatives, her mayor, the office of medical marijuana (“who doesn’t answer the phone”), the Bureau of Consumer Protection, the California Attorney General, The US Attorney General, The US Dept of Agriculture, the Florida Health Department AND a civil attorney.
She believes that parents can no longer stand idly by “while these companies are targeting our kids with what can be deadly doses of THC.”
The gummy her daughter consumed contained 50mg of THC. The package itself holds 10 gummies, the equivalent of 500mg of THC. According to McCoy, that is 50 TIMES what she would take as an adult and an experienced THC consumer.
Per Today, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen an uptick of calls regarding children age 12 and under being exposed to marijuana. In 2020, they received 5,083 calls. So far this year they have received 3104.
McCoy ends her post by saying:
In my eyes, this company is guilty of not only negligence but Child endangerment on a national scale. And so is our country if we continue to stand idly by. THC is a MEDICATION and needs to be packaged as such. Period.
Reaction to her post has been mixed. While some people agree with her stance many say the responsibility lies squarely on the marijuana users’ shoulders.
Additionally, McCoy says in a follow-up Facebook post that she has received “quite a bit of hate telling me what a terrible parent I am… It’s worth it if it means some sort of change is going to happen.”
She also shared that she has been contacted by other parents who have gone through the same ordeal.
I’ve had three mothers reach out to me over the past 24 hours to tell me about their experiences with their children overdosing accidentally on THC.
One mother’s child was 18 months old and spent three days in the ICU.
In one instance, someone had given the father a bag and he didn’t realize that it was THC and gave it to his children thinking it was just a snack.
Clearly, hers is not an isolated incident.
The reality is that parents need to do all they can to ensure the safety of their children and others who may come in contact with their stash.
It is their responsibility (and all users’ responsibility) to keep it locked up, out of sight and out of reach of little fingers.
Even in doing so, accidents happen.
Cannabis manufacturers have an opportunity to help minimize these incidents all by simply changing their packaging to look less appealing to children and more like this:
For all the haters out there McCoy begs the question:
Tell me what negative impact it would have if we were able to get medical child proof packaging for this product?
What is wrong with wanting to ensure this is packaged this properly?
Packaging matters. It’s what sells. But in this case and many others like it? It’s also what could lead to a child being seriously hurt or worse.
You can view the full post here.