Beware The Annual Cannabis-infused Candy Scare Stories

Even by local TV news standards, an October 2017 report from WNCN-TV of Charlotte, North Carolina stood out as ludicrous. “It's a treat packing a powerful trick,” warned reporter Brandon Goldner, employing the portentous tone perfected by the fake reporters on The Daily Show. He was referring to cannabis-infused candies, which, he declared with no supporting evidence, were presenting “a nightmare for state drug enforcement agents” worried that evildoers were going to sneak the evil treats into kids' bags on Halloween.

“The colorful packaging, the flavors, they mask the potent ingredient that's found within,” he said.

That potent ingredient was CBD, a component of the cannabis plant that doesn't produce a high, but does have potential health benefits. Goldner did at least make the distinction between CBD and THC, the part of the plant that does produce a high. But he warned that CBD “is known to give users a relaxing feeling.”

Oh, no. Not relaxing.

People involved in cannabis have been laughing at this kind of stuff since the '30s, when scare movies like Reefer Madness came out. That’s why it takes a lot for a news report like the one from WNCN-TV to get widespread attention among them, but this one made the cut, and it got lots of laughs.

Despite Goldner reporting that the candies in question didn't contain CBD, the online headline for the story was “Authorities tracking candies that could get kids high.”

The report presented no evidence of authorities tracking anything and it didn't present any evidence of anyone ever giving out CBD candies to kids on Halloween, much less ones containing THC. It also didn’t answer why anyone would do that, because it makes no sense.

But that hasn't stopped local TV-news droids from using legal weed as the basis for such stories pretty much every year around this time. They even do it during the off season, as when ABC30 Action News in Fresno reported in June last year on a “drug bust,” in which a few sleazoids were caught selling unlicensed edibles and vapes in their clothing shop. The station referred to the products variously as “narcotics” and “processed marijuana,” and the clothes shop as a “front” for this operation, in which the cops seized a couple of pounds of weed.

But Halloween is the prime time for scare stories like this and it's not just the media's fault. The WNCN report had all the earmarks of a rewritten press release from law enforcement, which issues such warnings as a way to appear to be “tough on crime,” even in states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use. That's most of the country now.

It's usually simple for law enforcement to find an easily manipulated media outlet to play along, often local TV news. “Watch out for cannabis candies this Halloween,” cautioned an NBC affiliate in Medford, Oregon, but it's not just in small markets. “Officials Warn About Marijuana Candy Ahead Of Halloween,” warned the CBS-owned local station in New York City. Moral panic is a reliable ratings-booster.

This year seems to be light on the scare stories, probably thanks to the pandemic, which is severely curtailing trick-or-treating. But it also seems like the tide might be turning. In recent years, many news outlets have actually done their job and examined the issue, finding that not only is the feat of tainted candy overblown, it's entirely baseless. WBNS in Columbus, Ohio asked, “Are children getting marijuana gummies for Halloween?” The station's answer: “Absolutely not.”

Stories of tainted Halloween treats have floated around for decades. Every kid has heard the urban myth about apples containing razor blades. A 1993 study, however, determined that the number of reports of kids being hurt or poisoned stood at exactly zero. Since then, nobody's reported any such incidents, at least none that can be found in a thorough search of the news.

Someone sneaking a cannabis edible into a kid's Halloween bag seems like the least likely possibility, if for no other reason than this: one of the CBD products shown on the screen in the WNCN story costs $30 per package. That's a pricey way to secretly relax an unwitting child.

6 Comments

  1. It does seem highly unlikely that someone would do that, even on a kid friendly holiday.

    That’s not to say that price always dictates if a child is hurt. I had an attorney that I paid approximately $20,000 in cash over a span of two months. She told me several times that if I ever fired her that the judge would be mad at me.

    I told her that my ex-wife was letting an older man molest my 13 year old son. She mostly ignored me and I was not allowed to talk to my son about during visitation.

    She used that information to get assets placed into trust, instead of protecting my son. I did end up firing her after that. All of my hearings were vacated as soon as I did. The attorney went on to represent my ex-wife and I was cut out of my kids’ lives.

    Now she wants to sex traffic my youngest daughter by allowing a rapist to have custody of her.

    She says “my child, my rules” and “she’ll have fun.”

    The attorney likely has childhood sexual trauma to being doing the same thing twice. She should have disclosed her compulsion to sex traffic children before I retained her. It is an obvious conflict of interest since I have kids.

    I can understand that expensive candy is likely not going to end up in hands of children.

    But why do we allow children to be the expensive candy of sick attorneys?

  2. The attorney brags about everyone from judges to other government officials supporting her sense of entitlement to do that to my children. I have faith in our justice system. There are laws in place against assault and sex trafficking. There are many within the District Attorney’s Office who are well aware of what is going on. I believe that they will not help Ms. Houghton to harm my children.

  3. I complained to protect my kids. Valerie Houghton should not have let my son get molested.

    Now she wants to wash her hands clean by giving my daughter to a known rapist. She wants to have me deemed mentally incompetent under penal code section 1368 for a false allegation of violating a domestic violence restraining order.

    She has been poisoning me in an attempt to get me to comply with her demands. Ms. Houghton says that she “lost a lot of business” and that I must “pay taxes” to her.

    I have been poisoned so many times that my kidneys, heart, and liver have been damaged. My testicles have atrophied and I no longer recognize my face. I am being physically threatened on a daily basis.

    This is my driver’s license picture that was taken about a year and a half ago. (I cannot post them as links. You need to add in the ww… part)

    photos.app.goo.gl/quh5ZzJrAjD2eGTw5

    This photo was taken a few days ago.
    photos.app.goo.gl/nyEf3xrd5m8SFMkK7

  4. > Now she wants to wash her hands clean by giving my daughter to a known rapist.

    What does “known rapist” mean? Known to who?

    Has the “known rapist” been charged. Then the name of the “charged” or “known” rapist should be public.

    If the criminal justice system isn’t doing its job, my guess is that complaints to Child Protective Services or the Bar Association would be in order.

  5. > Beware The Annual Cannabis-infused Candy Scare Stories

    Not a scare story, Dan.

    There’s a reason that drug proselytizers are called “pushers”.

    Not that long ago, (before fentanyl) many “communities” faced an epidemic of “crack babies”.

    There are too many people who think giving drugs to children is a good idea.

    In the interest of comprehensive reportage, Dan probably should have noted that on the other side of the issue, there are many people who think that blasting people who give drugs to children is also a good idea.

  6. I wonder about a person who is capable of arranging for a child to be sexually abused. It’s one step removed from the abuse itself.

    What else are they capable of?

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