Speaking to KOLO-TV in opposition to the ballot question to legalize marijuana, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt warned that legalization would lead to the death of children.
“There’s no provisions in this ballot initiative to keep edibles out of the hands of children. For those who are not familiar with edibles, marijuana is now infused in every product you can imagine. There’s pot soda, there’s something called pot tarts, most of you have heard about pot brownies. But there’s also gummies, lollipops, you name it. Maybe they’re tailored initially to adults, but we know they’re going to get into the hands of children. There have been many reported deaths and overdoses from children that unknowingly ingested edibles.”
As anyone with even a passing familiarity with cannabis can tell you, it doesn’t kill people. In over 7,000 years of recorded human ingestion of cannabis there has not been one fatal overdose from it.
That’s not to say it’s harmless, especially for a kid getting into the marijuana brownies. I’m a professional pothead and I don’t mess around with the edibles. The metabolizing of THC through your gut is different than through your lungs; it’s more psychoactive and you don’t get an immediate feedback. Nobody who is advocating for marijuana legalization wants the kids to get all wrecked on the pot gummies; in fact, much of what motivates us is a desire to ensure these products are properly regulated, inspected, labeled, and sold only in stores that check ID.
However, eating too much of the pot brownie is just a bad trip sometimes accompanied by vomiting. These kids taken to the ER are monitored, calmed down, held for observation, and then released. There are no long term detrimental effects. Some of you will suffer worse after a night of drinking this weekend. It’s even possible one of you might die from it. But none of you are going to die from the pot brownie.
Nevada’s Attorney General reminds me of the rehab doctor the opponents of our Oregon marijuana legalization roped in to the Great Marijuana Debate, recorded by our local NBC affiliate. This doctor also spouted off a line about marijuana edibles causing the death of five children in Colorado and he was met by immediate and loud correction from the audience. He was forced to retract his statement and a chyron admitting he was wrong was placed on the debate broadcast later that week.
The numbers on these accidental ingestions are also greatly inflated. Far more children are going to get into those newfangled laundry pods and suffer some serious injuries than are going to get into the pot gummies. We’re still talking about a few dozen incidents, not a few thousand. Plus, we have no idea how often this was happening in the past, since prohibition would motivate a parent to lie about what brought their kid to the ER.