COLUMBUS, Ohio — Attorney General Dave Yost is warning Ohioans about illegal cannabis edibles and hemp derivatives that are packaged to look like well-known snack brands.
“The levels of THC in these fakes could have some real and devastating consequences for children,” Yost said. “Parents need to be extra cautious, especially around Halloween, that these copycat products don’t wind up in treat bags.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the most common overdoses among children nationwide involve ingestion of edible cannabis foods.
In a news release, Yost’s office said the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 2,622 calls related to children ingesting cannabis products in the first half of 2021.
According to Yost, Ohio’s two poison control centers reported an increase in children ingesting these products last year.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Central Ohio Poison Center had 79 cases in 2020, up from 16 in 2019 for a 394% increase.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Drug and Poison Information Center also had 79 cases, a 108% increase from 38 in 2019.
In Ohio, the sale of marijuana is only legal for certain medical reasons for adults. In those approved sales, a single serving of an edible product contains 10 mg of THC and a multiple-serving package must contain less than 100 mg of total THC.
The illegal edibles contain 600-1,000 mg of THC per bag. Yost said if a child were to each an entire bag, they would be consuming 60-100 times the maximum legal adult serving.
“Individuals and companies responsible for putting these illegal edibles within the reach of children should reconsider how they choose to make profits. Also, sellers should know they may be subject to legal action and substantial civil penalties,” the release states.
Symptoms of THC overdose include respiratory distress, loss of coordination, lethargy, and loss of consciousness. If you suspect a child has eaten a food containing high amounts of THC, you can the Central Ohio Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
Yost encourages Ohioans who encounter these look-alive products to file a consumer complaint with his office online.