B.C. police officer raises concerns about online edible sales

He was shocked to bust a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended single dose of THC

An edible cannabis product seized by police in Delta, B.C. is seen in this undated handout photo. Delta police Const. Derek Gallamore was shocked when his department busted a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended dose of THC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Delta Police Department

Const. Derek Gallamore was shocked when his department in Delta, B.C., busted a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended single dose of THC.

The sugary treat looked identical to a regular grocery store confection but packed a whopping 400 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. He immediately imagined what might happen if a toddler came across the dessert.

“Being a parent, I looked at it and went, ‘Wait a second.’” he said. “There were no warning labels for children.”

Though cannabis was legalized Oct. 17, edibles will not be legal until sometime within the next year. But that hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from cooking up pot-infused candies, cookies and other items and selling them online or in dispensaries.

READ MORE: Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Gallamore said the woman was arrested about 18 months ago and the Crown decided against laying charges because they weren’t sure how marijuana legalization would affect the case.

Photos provided by Gallamore show other items seized were in professional-looking packaging. A rice cereal treat had the words “Keep away from children” in small letters, but blue raspberry gummies were in a clear bag and looked like any other candy.

After the incident, he began researching the edible cannabis market and learned it’s easy to purchase potent weed delicacies online. Most require the purchaser to register using government identification, but youth could still get the products, he said.

“It’s pretty easy to have someone buy edibles for you,” said Gallamore, whose work to spread information about the dangers of edibles to youths was highlighted by Delta police in a news release on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Market for cannabis edibles remains strong, despite ban

Some websites require buyers to agree to terms and conditions that state they need cannabis for a medical reason. Selling marijuana online to medical users is illegal unless the producer is licensed by Health Canada, which says on its website that law enforcement has the authority to take action against illegal cannabis activity.

The federal government is set to launch consultations in the coming months on edible regulations, and it’s considering requiring a standardized cannabis symbol on labels and banning product forms, ingredients and flavouring agents that appeal to kids.

Colorado had practically no restrictions on edibles when they hit shelves in 2014. That year, marijuana exposure calls about children and youth to a Denver poison control centre nearly doubled, and a college student jumped to his death after eating infused cookies.

The incidents grabbed headlines and pushed the state to introduce regulations, including requiring each product to be divided into servings of 10 or fewer milligrams of THC.

READ MORE: Pot edibles handed out on Halloween in B.C.

Edibles effects are delayed compared with marijuana consumed by smoking, putting users at risk of overconsumption, and the items are often sweet treats that appeal to children, said Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health.

Lysyshyn said Vancouver hospitals see a surge in emergency room visits by youth intoxicated by cannabis every year on April 20 during a weed festival in the city. Most have consumed edibles, he said.

“When people consume too much cannabis, they don’t overdose like people do on heroin,” he said.

“But it is unpleasant to consume too much cannabis and people can feel nauseous, they can vomit, they can feel sweaty, they can feel anxious and paranoid and even have psychosis if they consume enough.”

It’s going to be tricky for the government to ensure that edibles aren’t kid-friendly but are still appetizing to adults, Lysyshyn added.

“I think it is a bit of a challenge to figure out: what are the regulations going to be so that (companies) can produce reasonable products that people would want to eat, but that aren’t appealing to children?”

In early October, a young girl on Vancouver Island ate pot-infused gummy bears that she found in the back seat of a car. She was rushed to hospital in medical distress but was expected to fully recover, RCMP said.

Gallamore said his focus now is educating parents and youth about the dangers of edibles. He recently spoke to a parental advisory council and plans to deliver a presentation to a larger audience in early December.

“If you do consume these things, lock them up. Make them safe.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Aspiring pot-sellers can apply in two weeks to operate stores in Abbotsford

City will accept applications to operate one of four new stores; public consultation to follow

Nine Abbotsford citizens fleeced for over $68,000 by bitcoin scammers

Police warn public about fraudsters who threaten arrest

Comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Most Read