3 cannabis flavored products

California Voice: Cannabis industry is poisoning our kids just like tobacco has

By Dr Natalie Laub / republished from Marin IJ

When California voters in 2016 supported the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis, we did not anticipate children would become collateral damage from an improperly regulated industry that prioritizes profit over children’s health.

What we now know is the marketing practices of the cannabis industry, which take a page from tobacco companies’ playbook by targeting children, are causing a direct threat to kids’ safety, wellbeing and overall health.

Since the passage of Proposition 64, I have seen hundreds of young children become ill because they accidentally ate a product that contained cannabis. One in 10 children who consume cannabis end up in the intensive care unit. Eighty-seven percent of children under the age of 5 who are hospitalized due to cannabis toxicity have consumed the drug in the form of candy.

The number of children hospitalized for cannabis toxicity in San Diego, where I practice, has quadrupled since the recreational legalization of cannabis products. Each time this happens I ask the same question: Why does a drug that could kill a child have to look like candy?

The answer is it doesn’t. Unfortunately, a combination of systemic regulatory failures and rampant cannabis commercialization has resulted in the proliferation of legal cannabis products masquerading as attractive children’s food.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. When voters approved Proposition 64, the California ballot measure to legalize marijuana, one of its clearly stated intentions was that “Marijuana products shall not be designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain marijuana.”

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