With Washington residents poised to begin purchasing recreational marijuana legally later this spring or early this summer, many people across the country will be watching the rollout of pot very closely.
Marijuana advocates will look for signs that the cannabis sales are going smoothly, while opponents will watch for any negative issues that may arise. If Colorado's process for legalizing pot is any guide, Washington parents may be faced with a new challenge: keeping their children away from marijuana edibles.
A horrifying story was reported by a Denver TV station which detailed how a college student jumped to his death last month after consuming a marijuana-infused cookie. The 19-year old Republic of Congo native came from Wyoming to Denver to visit a friend, who bought the cookie legally. The teen's friends say that the victim began talking erratically after consuming the pot edible, ripping pictures off of a wall before jumping over his hotel room balcony and falling to his death.
Also, a dozen students at a suburban Denver middle school were suspended in March after they were discovered to have eaten marijuana-infused candy. The two students who supplied the sweets have been expelled. According to USA Today, a Colorado poison control center reports that calls to the hotline pertaining to kids ingesting marijuana edibles have risen over the past few years; and one Denver emergency room doctor claims that he sees one or two cases each month of kids accidentally eating pot-infused foods.
Will this become a problem in Washington?
For decades, children have been eating things they shouldn't. But when they see a tempting treat like brownies, cookies, or candy, they're going to be more likely to eat it, even without permission. So it's imperative that adults who live in a household with kids and who choose to buy marijuana edibles take extra caution to keep these products out of reach of children. Otherwise, the youngsters could become seriously ill from consuming pot-infused food; and in certain cases, parents might be subject to criminal prosecution.
Only time will tell whether this problem emerges in Washington as it did in Colorado.