Marijuana Chocolates and Cookies Rise in Sales in Omaha: Pose Respiratory Danger to Children

Nov 30, 2015 10:40 PM EST | By A. M.

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Marijuana is making the rounds in Omaha in chocolate, cookie and candy form.

According to Sgt Dave Bianchi of the Omaha Police, these varieties of marijuana merchandise allow people discretion when they use the drug. He says purchase of the marijuana-infused goodies have been growing. He suspects these are supplied to Omaha by a group of people from Nebraska, who may be purchasing pot from Colorado where marijuana retail sales has been allowed since January 2014.

Sgt Bianchi also says that the cannabis sweets, made with extracted tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces a more potent high compared to the effect of smoking rolled weed or of smoking with a water pipe.

In Omaha, however, THC in these candied or baked forms qualify as an illegal controlled substance and possession or distribution of these count for a prison term.  An example is one local who received charges on two counts of possession of these candies and is now facing as much as 50 years in prison.

Sgt Bianchi explains that THC oil extraction is quite dangerous, as it requires flammables as butane, and poses risks of explosion.  

The medical director of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, Dr. Ron Kirschner, agrees with Sgt. Bianchi on the danger in the production process: "People don't realize that the production process is dangerous...They read on the Internet how to do this. My guess is, a lot of websites don't really put an emphasis on safety."

Unfortunately, the targets of the marijuana sweets are high school and college students. These edibles also sometimes find their way into the presence of young children, and mostly accidentally.  Ingestion of these extractions by young children can cause severe problems to the respiratory system.

A surging number of kids with this case in the Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora had been reported earlier in the year.  

Topical use of THC through skin and lip lotions and balms for its calming effect, among others, should not cause a high because the substance is not being swallowed.  Still, in the words of Lacey Moore of The Green Solution in Colorado, "You're putting it on your skin, not ingesting it... But you wouldn't want to get a drug test (afterward)."

According to Sgt. Bianchi, traditional marijuana sales in the streets have 12 to 18 percent THC levels. The sweets, on the other hand, contains as much as 58 to 82 percent THC levels and may cost a few hundreds of dollars for each batch.

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