Washington residents voted to decriminalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Since then, there have been a handful of cases wherein children get their hands on marijuana edibles.
But has there been a noticeable uptick in marijuana-induced poisonings involving edibles and kids?
According to Washington Poison Control, the number of actual “pot poisonings” is relatively small, but the increased number of reported incidents involving children and marijuana is troubling.
Last year, there were 49 cases of kids under the age of 5 accidentally eating infused treats. And from July 2015 to July 2016, the Washington Poison Center received a total of 115 calls involving marijuana-related emergencies for both children and adults.
“It’s a growing problem, especially as products becomes more and more available, as it becomes more part of the culture.” Dr. Anthony Garrard with the Washington Poison Center told KOMO last July.
And now, a mother in Tacoma is the latest to blame the legalization of edible marijuana for getting her 14-month old accidentally high.
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The mother, whose identity is not being released, tells KOMO News that her child found some edibles at a relative’s home and it wasn’t until she was taken to the hospital several times that doctors figured out she had consumed marijuana. The signs: laziness, sleepiness, agitation.
In the case of the Tacoma toddler, she reportedly wasn’t eating or walking and every time someone picked her up, she’d start crying.
Dr. Alexander Garrard with Washington Poison Center tells KOMO the most common scenario they see involves parents leaving products laying around. “They have it in the gym bag or purse. The kids are rummaging through the purse or gym bag and that’s how they find it. Parent has taken it out of the packaging and the child doesn’t recognize it.”
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Nurse Deborah Schultz, also with WPC, says it’s important for family members who may be babysitting kids to differentiate regular candy from edibles.
We got a grandfather who was sort of babysitting the kids and found some edible candies. He gave the 7-year-old three (pieces). There was a 5-year-old. I think he ate a couple also. They felt very funny. The 7-year-old was crying a lot and got really upset because she didn’t know what was going on. She was pretty agitated.
As KOMO reports, Washington State Legislature just passed a bill that would allow marijuana retailers to give free lock box to their customers to store their products. And as of February, marijuana edibles are now required to have a prominent “Not for Kids” warning label on the packaging.