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Friday, October 2, 2020

The Spokesman-Review




Tainted treats turn out to be mostly make-believe

Kathleen Coleman DIRECTOR OF SALES

Dan Fritts


Joe Butler


Theresa Tanner


Anne Potter


Chris Soprych

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Pot presence added to urban legend lexicon By Joe Butler


“I don’t know if this is true, but it never hurts to be careful, right?” is one of those email introductions I try to delete faster than you can say “endocannabinoid.” What follows is usually a scary yet well-intended tale that someone may have heard from a trusted friend or knows a guy who heard that something bad might have happened somewhere. It’s the email or social media version of the telephone game, but usually with more dire consequences. Around this season, the fear factor tends to focus on Halloween, often along the lines of “A mom I know said her kid’s trick-or-treat candy had razor blades/rat poison/nails/pins/ saturated fats in it!” Naturally, as cannabis becomes more visible, a recent addition has been, “There were drugs in the candy! Can you believe it?!” New Jersey’s attorney general even sent out an advisory in

2017, warning parents to be on alert for cannabis-infused edibles in their kids’ trick-ortreat bags, and said a child in New York once became sick from eating candy he found in the family car. As someone with a semi-scholarly interest in urban legends and general conspiracy lore, I appreciate a good story, but I also am fascinated how and why these warnings happen, how they evolve over generations and cultures, (especially digitally) and why they’re so easy to want to believe. The ‘risks of tainted food from strangers’ theme has been around for thousands of years, but it has also blended with spiritual concerns about Halloween’s occult nature, plus the additional fear of children literally knocking on random doors at night. Throw in modern cannabis anxieties and you’ve got a cautionary tale that everyone can enjoy. Cannabis concerns often include two boogeymen. One is the shady and likely dangerous drug dealer. The other is the drug user, seen as generally harmless, even funny, but still brain-dead and confused. Either or both of these personas could be part of the spooky scare story. One is trying to poison your kid or get them hooked on the reefer;

the other is too fried to tell the difference between pot cookies and fun-sized Butterfingers when kids come knocking. Research into Halloween candy tampering shows that yes, it has happened, but in the bulk of cases, the perpetrators are either parents who want to warn children about potential tampering, or siblings/friends playing a prank. As far as giving away edibles, ask anyone in the cannabis industry if they would ever deliberately or even accidentally give pot to random kids. The consensus is pretty much, “Are you high?” Edibles are expensive to buy, and it takes effort to make them yourself. Who would risk the potential health and criminal consequences of purposefully giving them to kids? Responsible users make sure edibles are far from reach of children and pets, especially if they have underage guests visiting. Though there’s nothing wrong with parents inspecting candy (don’t forget that vital 10% inspection fee), but even in a legal-use state like Washington, there are more scary things to worry about than marijuana! Enjoy your Halloween! If you choose to celebrate, be safe and sensible. (And let us know your favorite urban legend while you’re at it!)

EVERCANNABIS CONTRIBUTORS Linda Ball is a freelance journalist based in Washington State. In her 18 years as a journalist she has covered a wide variety of topics including environmental issues, city hall, arts and entertainment, education, human interest stories and now the rapidly-changing cannabis industry. Joe Butler is a longtime marketing writer and editor at The Spokesman-Review. He’s an enthusiast of Star Wars, commemorative spoon collecting, and the Oxford comma. Chelsea Cebara is a medicallycertified cannabis consultant and product developer. She teaches and speaks nationally on the intersection of cannabis with sexuality, relationships, and culture. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaCebara. Tracy Damon is a Spokane-based freelancer who has been writing professionally for 20 years. She has been covering i502 issues since recreational cannabis became legal in Washington. Rick Misterly is a Washington resident whose interest in cannabis dates back to the 1960s and has taken him around the world. He’s the cannabis and hashish curator for Green Barn Farms in Addy and writes the “Rick’s World of Hashish” blog. Kate A. Miner has a degree in visual anthropology, and has worked in marketing and advertising for many years. She writes, takes photos and teaches yoga. John Nelson is a longtime journalist, having worked at major news operations in Spokane, Memphis and Seattle. He now works as a freelance journalist, writing about outdoors recreation, marijuana and recreational vehicles. Theresa Tanner is the Health & Culture editor of EVERCANNABIS. Born and raised in Spokane, she enjoys good food and drink, pop culture podcasts, and relaxing at the lake. Seagrin von Ranson is a freelance writer/photographer and Eastern Washington Sales Executive for HannaH Industries. An avid hiker and cannabis enthusiast, she can be found wandering a trail near you.

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