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L.A. officials warn against marijuana-laced edibles

10-30-2010 08:53 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff 's Department issued a warning on Friday against marijuana-laced candy, soda, freezer pops and other edibles that could be handed out to children on Halloween.

The warning came two days before Halloween, and four days before an election in which Proposition 19, a measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults, is on the ballot.

Parents should be on the lookout as detectives recently seized various edibles with pot in them that were being sold at marijuana dispensaries and other locations, the department said.

"Parents and teachers are encouraged to check Halloween candy and their children's snack items for indications that they may be packaged in this manner -- which contains drugs -- or in another, unfamiliar or tampered manner," Sheriff's Capt. Ralph Ornelas of the Narcotics Bureau said.

He said the department was unaware of any incidents of marijuana-laced items being handed out to children in past years, but wanted to warn of the possibility.

"We felt obligated to share this information with the parents and the community," Ornelas said.

The products are "packaged to attract children and teens," Ornelas said.

He said that some items were labeled with the warning "for medicinal use only; keep out of reach of children," but authorities were concerned that children might not read the warnings -- or might not be able to read at all. The edibles appear similar to other packaged foods.

"You really can't tell the difference," Ornelas said.

Health concerns include the possible presence of toxins from pesticides and fertilizers, Ornelas said.

"The items were determined to be unlicensed, untested, and improperly labeled to warn consumers of the contents or dosage," he said.

Marijuana advocates deny the products are meant to attract children, and say they are intended to be used by adults who don't want to ingest the drug by smoking it.

Since marijuana is currently illegal, there are no licenses, tests or labeling requirements for pot.

The measure to legalize marijuana needs a majority vote to pass. Once becoming law, it would allow Californians who are at least 21 to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess up to an ounce. Cities and counties could authorize commercial cultivation and sales, and could impose taxes.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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