BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With recreational marijuana now legal in New York State, officials at the Upstate New York Poison Center are sending a warning to parents, after seeing a dramatic increase in edibles getting into the wrong hands.
“It’s not safe to have marijuana products around small children,” said Christine Stork, the clinical director of the Upstate New York Poison Center. “Especially if they look and taste like candy,” she said.
For years, the center has been keeping track of the number of calls it receives for children who unintentionally ingested marijuana. Those numbers are now staggering.
“Most people have been brought up with the notion that marijuana is not that toxic, and I think that’s led to a misunderstanding,” Stork said.
The biggest problem, she says, is children under the age of 6 taking an edible. An edible in many cases is an indigestible form of marijuana that you eat, mixed with things like gummy bears and chocolate. Stork says edibles are meant to be taken by the dose, but children are mistaking them for candy, and taking multiple doses at a time.
In 2020, the Upstate New York Poison Center says it received 55 calls for marijuana ingestion for kids under the age of 6. So far in 2021, there have already been 43 calls for that same age group though May.
These calls only track marijuana with the THC, the agent that gives a person a high and do not include the calls in which a child has ingested CBD. The center says there have been calls for that too.
“Some of these kids have required a breathing tube,” Stork said. “Without a breathing tube, they would not be alive.”
While recreational marijuana is legal in New York State, right now you cannot legally buy edibles.