According to a Denver Police Department podcast, calls have already started coming in from parents concerned that their kids will be slipped pot edibles while trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Get details and hear the complete podcast below.
The conversation is featured in a new "Ask the Experts" series of podcasts created by the Denver Police Department. In the latest, DPD Sergeant Steve Warneke interview Sergeant Brett Hinkle and Detective Aaron Kafer of the department's marijuana unit
Much of the conversation touches on familiar topics, like the different rules pertaining to medical marijuana and the recreational sort. For instance, the limits for recreational pot are one ounce and six plants, whereas those with a medical red card can legally possess two ounces and six plants.
Kafer also makes it clear that "Amendment 20 and 64" -- the measures that legalized limited medical marijuana and recreational marijuana sales, respectively -- "are legal exceptions... Marijuana has, in the past, been illegal...and all of those laws are still there. What we have is an exception to those laws, or an exception to prosecution, under 20 and 64.... In that sense, marijuana is only legal under those very fine, specific situations. It's always complex for the police to understand what those exceptions are."
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In addition, the speakers make it clear that if someone is caught with more than the approved amount of marijuana, authorities will take all their cannabis rather than leaving them with the one or two ounces they could have legally possessed. And Kafer shares some background on the tension marijuana consumption has created among some folks who don't like smelling the stuff.
"We do get complaints from neighbors who are unhappy with their neighbors" about smoking, he notes. "This is nothing new. Sometimes neighbors don't get along, whether it's a barking dog or loud music. The marijuana, especially the smoked marijuana, throws in another thing that can cause people to have issues with their neighbors.
"I think it's about respect and using some common sense when it comes to that," he continues. "Marijuana is a little different from alcohol in that sense. It can waft. The smoke goes from one place to another, and some people don't want that. People can recognize that and act neighborly. That would help a lot."
Still, the freshest material in the podcast pertains to Halloween, with Warneke pointing out that the police department is already hearing from parents freaked out at the prospect of stoners slipping their kids pot candy.
In response, Hinkle and Kafer caution parents to make sure candy is in original packaging, as opposed to, say, a sandwich bag filled with gummy bears, since a lot of marijuana edibles resemble more typical goodies.
They also advise parents to talk to their children about not eating anything until a grown-up has a chance to inspect it, as well as to take a close look at the packages themselves, since marijuana edibles are required to list THC content -- and some wrappers have been known to resemble better-known brands. Kafer says it's a good idea for parents to be "looking at the packaged candies that your child has and trying to insure, 'Is this Skittles? Is this Sweet Tarts?' If it looks like something different, a name you don't recognize, look at it a little closer and take caution."
Warneke also mentions fears among some that malicious candy givers could "spray" regular candy with THC-infused material, then repackage it to sneak the power of pot into kids' buckets. The experts don't dismiss this possibility, pointing out that cannabis edibles are typically made with oils "that can be in liquid or semi-solid state" and can be "extremely potent." Moreover, marijuana edibles don't always smell so strongly of weed that they can be immediately identified.
Cue parental panic. Here's the DPD podcast.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.