Garda warning over cannabis jellies

The use of cannabis-infused edibles, such as jelly sweets, chocolates, cookies, and confectionery, is a relatively new trend in Ireland.

Gardaí are warning the public after two young children consumed jellies, possibly containing cannabis component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The incident occurred in Coolock, Dublin, and emergency services attended the scene.

The two children, aged 3 and 4 years, were subsequently taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital where they received medical attention.

The children unknowingly consumed these products, thinking they were confectionery.

A person, not related to the children, is assisting Gardaí in Coolock with their enquiries.

The use of cannabis-infused edibles, such as jelly sweets, chocolates, cookies, and confectionery, is a relatively new trend in Ireland.

So-called Cannabis candies have been seized by gardai in Cavan recently, while the Joint Policing Committee in neighbouring Co Meath had issued a warning to all schools and parents of the potential dangers associated.

Any product infused with THC is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977/1984, and their possession is illegal.

Cannabis-infused edibles could be confused with regular confectionery due to the similarities utilised in packaging the products. An Garda Síochána encourage persons who become unwell as a consequence of consuming drugs to seek medical assistance by dialling 999 or 112.

If a juvenile has consumed these products, medical attention should be sought immediately by calling 999 or 112.

People who consume these products, not realising they contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are subject to drug testing if required by law and would test positive for consumption of a drug. For instance, if a Garda conducted a Mandatory Intoxication Test on the roadside, a driver who consumed these products could be found positive for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, which would be subject to criminal proceedings.

An Garda Síochána further advises that it is an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess cannabis except in accordance with a Ministerial Licence.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Under the Misuse of Drugs legislation products containing THC are strictly controlled and possession is unlawful except under licence.

On last month the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued a warning for consumers about the danger associated with eating edible products, such as jelly sweets, containing cannabis components.

This warning comes following a number of recent incidents whereby edible products containing significant levels of the psychotropic cannabis component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were intercepted by An Garda Síochana and Revenue’s Customs Service.

In at least one incident known to the FSAI, sweets containing cannabis oil were consumed by a number of teenagers, one of whom subsequently suffered serious adverse health effects requiring hospitalisation. The particular sweets were apparently purchased online with the packaging carrying explicit warnings to eat the sweets cautiously and that a significant concentration of THC was present.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, THC is a toxic contaminant and should not be added to any food.

“Sweets containing cannabis components are being sold online or by other means. They are dangerous, particularly for young people and those with prior health conditions who may consume them unwittingly. We are warning consumers about the dangers from eating these sweets with cannabis products added. People should only ever buy food from reputable sources and be sure they check the food labels. THC is not classified as food in the EU and is a controlled substance in Ireland,” warned Dr Byrne.

“This new development is a sinister attempt to sell narcotics in the form of sweets and those involved are obviously not concerned about the consequences of these products getting into the hands of vulnerable people like children who could consume these products unwittingly to the detriment of their health,” added Dr Byrne.

The FSAI is liaising with other Government agencies including the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochana and Revenue’s Customs Service to detect and stop the import and sale of these dangerous products into Ireland. The FSAI urges anybody in a position of influence to educate children about the dangers of these illicit products and alert the FSAI or other enforcement agencies where they have information about the availability of these products.

More from this Topic