Last week, the Washington Poison and Drug Information Center reported a record number of marijuana exposures in Washington State since before recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012. The majority of calls occurred within the 13 to 19 age range quickly followed by the 20 to 29 age group. The majority of exposures were a result of intentional abuse in ages 13 and older followed by unintentional, unsupervised ingestion.
Marijuana products implicated in these exposures included but were not limited to marijuana chocolate bars, brownies, butane hash oil, marijuana-infused drinks, and marijuana gummy bears.
To address the problem of child and teen exposure to these kinds of marijuana products, the King County Board of Health asked the state legislature for help. A resolution was adopted during their January meeting that states, in part:
Whereas, twenty percent of all marijuana-related calls to the Washington Poison Center involved children in King County . . .
Whereas, many edible marijuana products available in medical marijuana dispensaries are designed, packaged and advertised in ways that are attractive to youth, including the development of products such as candies, cookies, chocolates and soda and other sugary drinks . . .
Whereas, medical dispensaries are not required to ascertain the age of consumers . . .
Whereas, legalization of marijuana for adult use in Washington state may have made access to marijuana easier for people of all ages, including access to edible marijuana products . . .
The Board of Health calls on the Washington state Legislature to ensure that the marijuana industry in Washington state properly safeguards the health and safety of our children and youth, and to align regulation of the medical marijuana industry with the recreational marijuana market in order to provide an equal level of protection to children and youth in both industries.