To keep kids safe, check candy labels for THC additives before digging into gifted or donated treats.

By Kristi Pahr
October 16, 2019

During a time of global crisis, when many families are struggling to put food on the table, well-stocked food banks are more important than ever. The influx of new customers and higher demand, coupled with an increase of donations during the coronavirus epidemic is the recipe for oversights, though, as families in Utah found out recently.

Two children were hospitalized after ingesting Nerds candy infused with up to 400mg of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

As CNN reported, the First Baptist Church of Roy, which partners with the Utah Food Bank, handed out dozens of bags of food that contained the THC-infused candies.

Officials say that five children have been affected by the candies, two of whom were hospitalized–an 11-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl. The 5-year-old has since been released from the hospital but there have been no updates on the condition of the 11-year-old.

While the Utah Food Bank isn't sure where the candy came from, they, along with local police, are making an effort to contact families who may have received the illicit candy.

"We are absolutely horrified that this product went out to any of our partner agencies, and can easily see how volunteers would not have known what to look for," said president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank Ginette Bott in a statement to KUTV. "We apologize to any families who may have received this product and are changing our processes involving such donations immediately to avoid this happening again."

Previously, police have cautioned the public to be wary of THC-infused candy at Halloween–most notably, Nerds Ropes, the same candy the children in Utah ingested.

The police department in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, posted a warning on its Facebook page last fall advising parents to check children's candy very carefully this year for THC edibles. The post, which included a photograph of confiscated THC-infused Nerds Ropes, warned parents to be vigilant in checking packages this year because normal candy might be tough to distinguish from weed candy.

"The Johnstown Police would like to draw extra attention to the Nerds Rope edibles containing 400mg of THC found during a search warrant in Stoney Creek Twp." the post states. "During this Halloween, we urge parents to be ever vigilant in checking their children's candy before allowing them to consume those treats. Drug laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy."

Legal weed edibles sold in dispensaries across the country are usually clearly marked as containing THC. You can find warnings on many edibles labeling the candy as containing THC, and how much, like the knockoff Nerd Rope candy that has a high dose of THC in each piece.

It also bears mentioning that THC edibles are not cheap—one lollipop can sell for upwards of $15—and the people who enjoy THC edibles are highly unlikely to spend that much money just to give it to your kids for kicks on Halloween. (AKA, they probably want it for themselves.)

Now, we're not saying throw caution to the wind. Candy should still be checked prior to the sugar-rush free-for-all, but if you actually find weed candy, it will be because somehow someone's stash got mixed in with the regular candy. Which, again, is highly doubtful, because people who like THC edibles aren't likely to just leave them lying around.

Check your kids' candy, yes, of course. But don't expect to find any weed candy. Or razor blades. You should be more worried about the nice old lady down the street's homemade cookies. They're probably full of cat hair.