Dear Stoner: Do you think the Denver Police Department is right, and kids are going to get pot candy in their bags?
Frank N. Stein
Dear Frank: Not at all. This is just an updated version of the tired old story that fearmongering cops — and paranoid parents — have been pushing since the '70s. The idea is that some mythical Halloween Scrooge is out to hurt kids by giving away tainted candy. The thing is, the story isn't true; it's an urban legend. The myth started when Ronal O'Bryan, a Houston-area father, killed his own child around Halloween by poisoning the boy's Pixy Stix with cyanide and then fingered a random stranger. Cops quickly figured out who was to blame, though that part never gets reported. The tales of people handing out poison? Those stem from an ornery old lady in New York City in the 1960s who handed out bags of junk from under her sink as a joke to kids too old to be trick-or-treating. Everything was labeled, including the scouring pads and rat poison — but the myth of poison is a much better story. And these days, the police keep the legend alive, going so far as to offer up X-ray services in some cities in order to hunt for razor blades. It's a PR win for the police, since nobody ever gets sick or hurt from tainted candy — and the cops look like they've won a major public-safety battle. And they're taking the same route this year with pot candy.
Could someone actually give an edible to a kid? Sure. But will it happen? Not likely. Pot candy is way too expensive to hand out, and you'd have to be a really outstanding kind of idiot to give pot food to kids, anyway. Besides — urban legend or not — what child in this Stranger Danger world we live in takes unwrapped candy from strangers?
Ask a Stoner
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But if, on the slight chance that I'm wrong and something happens this year, the culprits will come from one of three groups. The first would be the same psycho assholes who would give kids rotten candy, poison or chocolate bars with needles inside. The second would be the anti-pot people, looking to plant a story. I don't really think they'd do it, but it sure would bolster their otherwise absurd claims that pot users have no scruples about getting kids hooked on "the pot" by tricking them into getting high, and support their claim that edibles are a scourge poisoning Colorado's kids (hello, prescription drugs and booze). And the third would be teenagers who get busted with weed candy that they somehow obtained from some dishonest friend or stranger and need an easy out: "I swear, Mom, someone just gave it to us." I know I totally would have used that back in the day...not that my folks would have bought it.