ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) — New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued a warning to New York parents concerning products that are deceptively designed to look like standard snack foods and candy, but actually contain high levels of cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
These products, which the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) says are illegal and unregulated in New York state, can be extremely dangerous to human health. The OAG urges parents throughout the state to remain alert against the online sale of these dangerous and misleading products that contain THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
If ingested, the products could be fatal for children. Packaging for the products copies popular snack food brands such as Oreos, Cheetos, Sour Patch Kids, and Doritos.
“These unregulated and deceptive cannabis products will only confuse and harm New Yorkers,” said Attorney General James. “It is essential that we limit their access to protect our communities and, more specifically, our children. In light of an increase in accidental overdoses among children nationwide, it is more vital than ever that we do everything we can to curb this crisis and prevent any further harm, or even worse, death.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the most common overdose incidents among children involve ingestion of edible cannabis foods, as such incidents of overdoses are on the rise. In 2020, over 70% of calls related to marijuana edibles to the Poison Control Center involved children under the age of 5. In the first half of 2021 alone, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported that poison control hotlines have received an estimated 2,622 calls for services related to young children ingesting illegal cannabis products.
Although New York legalized cannabis for adults earlier this year, cannabis products for non-medical use are not yet being sold legally in the state. In other states where non-medical cannabis products are permitted for sale, a single adult serving size of an edible cannabis product contains five milligrams of THC, but a standard bag of lookalike Cheetos brand product contains 600 milligrams of THC.
If a child were to consume the entire bag, the child would be consuming 120 times the maximum legal adult serving in those states. Symptoms of THC overdose include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy, and loss of consciousness.
If you think your child is sick from consuming food with high amounts of THC, call the New York Regional Poison Control Centers at (800) 222-1222. If you know of any deceptive lookalike products that could be targeted at kids, contact the OAG by submitting a complaint form online or by calling (800) 771-7755.