During a seminar session at IACP 2014 in Orlando dubbed “Has your state drug policy gone up in smoke?” I was reminded of a potential threat to public safety on Halloween: cannabis candy.

Now, pointing out potential threats to kids at Halloween is not a novel concept, and historically many such threats have been overblown. But pot-infused candy merits a little extra consideration if only because it looks so similar to pot-free counterparts which will be handed out in vast quantities on Halloween. Many of the manufacturers of such candies purchase bulk quantities of knock-off versions of well-known products and spray those items with high-concentrate THC liquid, which when dried looks exactly like the mass-market product.

During the wide-ranging discussion about the legal and societal ramifications of legalized marijuana, one of the presenters on that panel — Ben Cort, who works for the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation — said that he’s worried about taking his kids out trick-or-treating this year because of pot-infused candy.

Colorado and Washington became the first two states in the Union to have legalized recreational pot, and in both places the use of “edibles” has become rampant. Further, there are nearly two dozen other states in which so-called medical marijuana is legal, and THC-infused candy is widely available there as well. And obviously, similar products are surely available on the black market everywhere, not just states with permissive pot laws.

A Potentially Deadly Threat The THC content in pot candy does vary, but some candies have had THC levels “so high people report extreme paranoia and anxiety bordering on psychotic behavior,” said a report in USA Today.