May 17, 2023 – On Tuesday, May 16th, Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin hosted a virtual press conference in which she discussed her support for Assembly Bill 1207 which would prohibit cannabis product packaging that mimics candy, soda, and other snacks that may be attractive to children.
This piece of legislation was brought to the floor at the expense of the “recent explosion of poisonings and hospitalizations” of young children due to accidental ingestion of cannabis products.
In addition to Assemblymember Irwin, Dr. Lynn Silver, Pediatrician and Director of “Getting it Right from the Start” stated that there are “skyrocketing” poisonings across the country amongst children and the time for action on these poisonings is now.
Dr. Silver believes that across the state and nation, “We can have legal cannabis that prospers without attracting kids”, by “creating consistency” amongst items such as the products in question in addition to flavored tobacco.
Dr. Natalie Laub, researcher at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego, has conducted a recent study into the issue, focusing on young children accidentally ingesting cannabis. Dr. Laub states that in San Diego alone the amount of accidental ingestions has risen from less than 10 cases in 2019 to 100 in 2022.
Findings concluded that most of the ingestions are coming from toddlers. Their reasoning behind the accidental ingestions is toddlers’ misidentification of cannabis products and more specifically mistaking the packaging as candy.
Most of these cases come from in home environments with the products themselves being purchased legally.
Each of the dignitaries contributing to the press conference, which included President of the California Parent Teacher Association, Carol Greene, and Policy Advocate for Youth Forward, Adwoa Akyianu, made it evident that their fight is not against the use of cannabis amongst adults, but the material packaging that may attract younger children to accidentally ingest.
They believe that cannabis users will continue to buy products without the flair, style, and attractiveness that is cannabis product packaging.
Questions were brought up on the effect on the cannabis advertising industry and more specifically the responsibility of parents who carry cannabis products in their house that also houses infantile children.
To these questions, responses gathered included making sure to lock up cannabis products and further questions on whether or not the cannabis industry would like to be associated with accidental child ingestion that can cause “psychosis and possible death”.
The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act, AB 1207, would help “create a safer cannabis market and put kids’ health before profit” by prohibiting cannabis products from clearly mimicking some of their favorite candy, soda, and snacks known to attract children.
The bill currently sits in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations awaiting a May 18th decision on whether or not it will move forwards to an Assembly Floor vote.