For police, pot edibles are the latest frontier when it comes to confiscating marijuana. From brownies and cookies to lollipops and gummy bears, police are increasingly dealing with sweets made with marijuana, not just buds from the plant itself, the New York Times reported Saturday.
One of the driving factors of the explosive popularity of these goodies is the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington State, according to law enforcement and state officials, lawyers and other experts interviewed by the Times. Edibles are also available in states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
For manufacturers, making and selling edibles is a burgeoning business. In 2014, nearly 5 million units of edible marijuana products were sold in Colorado, according to a report by Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division. Nearly 2 million of those were sold for medical purposes, and nearly 3 million for recreation. The report said the numbers showed "a strong demand for edibles in general, but especially for retail marijuana edibles."
For police and drug enforcement officials, identifying these goods is a somewhat unusual endeavor although they have begun to learn to consider candies and snacks, deceptively innocent, as possibly containing marijuana.
In February, police in San Antonio seized about $100 worth of edibles, including brownies, gummies and chocolate. Investigators said many of the products had been manufactured in states where marijuana is legal, then shipped to and sold in states where it is not.
The same month, a far bigger bust took place in Franklin Township, Ohio, where a county drug task force raided five locations and seized more than $1 million in marijuana plants, hashish oil and butter, and edibles ranging from ice cream and brownies to fudge and other candy, the Hamilton Journal News reported.
Opponents of legalizing marijuana have cited edibles as a primary culprit for the overuse or accidental use of pot. In Colorado in the first half of 2014, 14 children went to hospitals for accidentally eating these products, whereas just eight went in all of 2013, according to the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Reuters reported in January.