Youngstown police are seeing an increase in children eating THC edibles

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio voters passed Issue 2 to legalize recreational marijuana back in November.

Here locally, Youngstown police have noticed a significant increase in the number of children consuming pot-laced edibles and becoming seriously ill.

Youngstown Police are urging parents and caregivers to keep food away from children.

A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics found that calls to poison control centers for children under six consuming cannabis-infused treats increased from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021.

According to the report, around 97% of children discovered the edibles at home. Children find marijuana edibles at home that often look like regular treats and then experience adverse and sometimes life-threatening reactions.

Captain Jason Simon of the Youngstown Police Department would like to reiterate that marijuana is only legal in Ohio for consumers 21 years of age or older. And although marijuana can be legally added to consumer products, it is often done in ways that can be very tempting to children. He encourages these people to keep edibles locked up or at least in a high place where a child can’t reach them.

“These consumables are also very typically colorful and inviting, especially to young children who don’t know the difference between a regular brownie and one that may contain THC,” Captain Simon said.

Captain Simon says if your child consumes a curd-laced edible while you’re on watch, they could face serious legal issues. All laws continue to apply to child endangerment, which can range from a misdemeanor to a felony under the Ohio Revised Code.

Captain Simon said Youngstown police are currently investigating a number of these cases.

According to the National Poison Data System, of the nearly 3,300 delta-8 THC exposures in 2022, 1,365 involved children under 12.

“We all know better that kids find a way to get to things, so they lock them up in a way that isn’t easily accessible to a small child or even someone under 21, because they’re not. “It is recommended to have them,” said Captain Simon.

Captain Simon said he has seen numerous cases where a child who consumed a marijuana edible required emergency room treatment and some even required intubation due to a serious reaction.