B.C. police officer raises concerns about online edible sales

He was shocked to bust a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended single dose of THC

An edible cannabis product seized by police in Delta, B.C. is seen in this undated handout photo. Delta police Const. Derek Gallamore was shocked when his department busted a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended dose of THC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Delta Police Department

An edible cannabis product seized by police in Delta, B.C. is seen in this undated handout photo. Delta police Const. Derek Gallamore was shocked when his department busted a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended dose of THC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Delta Police Department

Const. Derek Gallamore was shocked when his department in Delta, B.C., busted a woman allegedly selling weed-laced brownies with 40 times the recommended single dose of THC.

The sugary treat looked identical to a regular grocery store confection but packed a whopping 400 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. He immediately imagined what might happen if a toddler came across the dessert.

“Being a parent, I looked at it and went, ‘Wait a second.’” he said. “There were no warning labels for children.”

Though cannabis was legalized Oct. 17, edibles will not be legal until sometime within the next year. But that hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from cooking up pot-infused candies, cookies and other items and selling them online or in dispensaries.

READ MORE: Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Gallamore said the woman was arrested about 18 months ago and the Crown decided against laying charges because they weren’t sure how marijuana legalization would affect the case.

Photos provided by Gallamore show other items seized were in professional-looking packaging. A rice cereal treat had the words “Keep away from children” in small letters, but blue raspberry gummies were in a clear bag and looked like any other candy.

After the incident, he began researching the edible cannabis market and learned it’s easy to purchase potent weed delicacies online. Most require the purchaser to register using government identification, but youth could still get the products, he said.

“It’s pretty easy to have someone buy edibles for you,” said Gallamore, whose work to spread information about the dangers of edibles to youths was highlighted by Delta police in a news release on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Market for cannabis edibles remains strong, despite ban

Some websites require buyers to agree to terms and conditions that state they need cannabis for a medical reason. Selling marijuana online to medical users is illegal unless the producer is licensed by Health Canada, which says on its website that law enforcement has the authority to take action against illegal cannabis activity.

The federal government is set to launch consultations in the coming months on edible regulations, and it’s considering requiring a standardized cannabis symbol on labels and banning product forms, ingredients and flavouring agents that appeal to kids.

Colorado had practically no restrictions on edibles when they hit shelves in 2014. That year, marijuana exposure calls about children and youth to a Denver poison control centre nearly doubled, and a college student jumped to his death after eating infused cookies.

The incidents grabbed headlines and pushed the state to introduce regulations, including requiring each product to be divided into servings of 10 or fewer milligrams of THC.

READ MORE: Pot edibles handed out on Halloween in B.C.

Edibles effects are delayed compared with marijuana consumed by smoking, putting users at risk of overconsumption, and the items are often sweet treats that appeal to children, said Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health.

Lysyshyn said Vancouver hospitals see a surge in emergency room visits by youth intoxicated by cannabis every year on April 20 during a weed festival in the city. Most have consumed edibles, he said.

“When people consume too much cannabis, they don’t overdose like people do on heroin,” he said.

“But it is unpleasant to consume too much cannabis and people can feel nauseous, they can vomit, they can feel sweaty, they can feel anxious and paranoid and even have psychosis if they consume enough.”

It’s going to be tricky for the government to ensure that edibles aren’t kid-friendly but are still appetizing to adults, Lysyshyn added.

“I think it is a bit of a challenge to figure out: what are the regulations going to be so that (companies) can produce reasonable products that people would want to eat, but that aren’t appealing to children?”

In early October, a young girl on Vancouver Island ate pot-infused gummy bears that she found in the back seat of a car. She was rushed to hospital in medical distress but was expected to fully recover, RCMP said.

Gallamore said his focus now is educating parents and youth about the dangers of edibles. He recently spoke to a parental advisory council and plans to deliver a presentation to a larger audience in early December.

“If you do consume these things, lock them up. Make them safe.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Port Alice Community Centre opened its doors to the public Wednesday through Friday morning, offering coffee, tea, hot soup, meals and warmth. Cots were available for overnight stays. The centre had a generator, so people were able to charge their devices. Approximately 75 residents passed through during the three-day outage. (Debra Lynn photo)
Port Alice residents talk three-day power outage

The Port Alice Community Centre opened its doors to the public Wednesday through Friday morning.

Emma Garriott is releasing her second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst.’ (Emma Garriott / Facebook photo)
North Island musician releases second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst’

“When you hear it, I want you to feel like your best friend in the whole world is sitting beside you’

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Jay Vaughn, Brian Pohto and Janet Pohto opened up the Island Sun’s tuna freezers for anyone worried about food thawing over the four-day power outage on Malcolm Island. (Christopher Hurst photo)
Community shines bright during power outage

Hardest hit areas on the North Island stepped up to keep neighbours warm and fed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read