I recently read a post about an all too familiar type of anti-cannabis propaganda. Specifically, the post mentioned a story from USA Today that warned readers of the danger of cannabis "laced" treats being handed out as or mistaken for Halloween candy. I don't believe that this is a common practice (for reasons that I will get into later) but that is not the point. One who is familiar with that publication may or may not have noticed this but USA Today has consistently functioned as a mouthpiece for drug war propagandists and that is exactly how I view this particular story. However, countless other anti-cannabis articles about the "risks" to kids posed by weed candy have been published by numerous other media outlets. It seems like this same fear-mongering bit of propaganda returns from the dead every Halloween. In the broader sense, these "news" stories are another incarnation of the tired old "think of the children" argument (which I have written about in the past) but there is a second layer hidden underneath the emotional appeal to our protective instincts. That is to say, the claim that cannabis consumers can't wait to fill your kids candy bags with weed lollipops and pot cookies also functions as a rather insulting act of demonization of the cannabis community as a whole. The propagandists' hope is that the non-using public will begin to fear cannabis consumers and see their existence as a threat. Despite being utterly nonsensical, this lie seems to resurface every fall as that sugariest of holidays approaches and, that being the case, I wanted to take some time to discuss how it functions as a propaganda technique, the effect that the propaganda is intended to have, and explain why I believe that the vast majority of people have no interest in wasting good weed on children in costumes.
As I mentioned, the primary purpose of the "they want to 'drug' your kids" propaganda is to poke at people's protective parental instincts. Those drives is are strong in most people. We, generally, don't like to see or hear about bad things happening to kids (even if we don't particularly like them) and when we are told that there is a threat to them, many of us will act to guard the children from that threat, often, before we think about whether or not the threat is real or whether our actions are justified. The prohibitionists and their voices in the media suggest that people slipping cannabis candy to the costumed kids on Halloween is potentially a serious problem and usually go on to mention that some number kids was between some dates "were taken to the emergency room" (where they were "treated" by being allowed to sleep until the buzz wore down but that bit is, conveniently, omitted) after accidentally consuming cannabis confections. The purpose of these types of stories is obvious. The drug warriors want to sway public opinion against cannabis (particularly in states with legal markets) so that laws to curtail our newly won freedom can be passed with less resistance. "We had better ban weed gummies, lest they be used to 'trick' our children into taking drugs next Halloween" is the desired response from a reader of the propaganda.
Theses weed candy stories have a secondary function. Aside from serving as a conduit through which to deliver a "think of the children" argument, they are employed to make cannabis users and legal cannabis communities seem as though they are dangerous and sinister. Often, these stories frame this "problem" as "new" (ignoring that tainted candy of all types has always been a concern for parents on Halloween). The implication is that legal cannabis is the root cause of the "new problem." Unlike the "think of the children" argument, I believe that aspect of the news articles is targeted more directly at people who live in prohibition states. It is meant to give the false impression that cannabis is a tool of abuse and corruption, its deranged users are willing to 'drug' kids for their entertainment (I assume, I have never been given a clear reason as to why a person would to hand out weed candy on Halloween), and that these "problems" are being experienced in legal states. It is a bit harder to sell that idea in the legal states themselves but there are still plenty of "buyers" where it is illegal. Again, the goal of the propaganda is to create fear and sway public opinion. The propaganda covertly suggests that if a population wants to avoid the "problems" that are being faced in legal cannabis states, it must stand against the expansion of the right to consume cannabis into its own communities.
Of course, causing some of that panic might be fine if people handing out edibles was a real problem but I highly doubt that it is for several reasons and one of the strongest, in my mind, is that it offers no reward for the person chooses to do it. Let's try to get into the mind of someone who might consider handing out questionable candy and to see if it really makes sense for them give away weed. If the individual thinks that he or she is playing a funny joke on the kids by getting them high, he or she will never be around to see the pay off. The person has no way of knowing whether the kid will eat the candy or not. That is, unless he or she tries to follow the kid around all night; in which case, the bigger concern should be the creep who is following kids around and not the trivial amount of weed that might be consumed. Maybe the person is a dangerous psychopath and gets off on hurting children. That is certainly a type of person that exists but would people like that really choose weed over poison or razor blades? Cannabis is as harmless as a drug can be. The sadist really doesn't get much in the way of sadistic satisfaction out of giving weed candy to kids. If they even eat the suspicious candy, they are, at worst, going to freak out for an hour or two. It is more likely, however, that they will feel really good but not understand why, they will eat a whole box of cereal, pass out in front of some cartoons, and wake up feeling a little groggy, just like I do. That, of course, is not the the sort of result that someone who wanted to legitimately hurt the kids is looking for. To put it simply, it is a stupid and pointless plan regardless of what the motivation might be and, I believe, most people would realize that long before they put it into action.
This should go without saying but store-bought edibles (you know, the ones that could conceivably be mistaken for Halloween candy) are not cheap. It wouldn't be impossible for someone with a job to buy enough weed candy to hand it out to kids but it would be quite a lot of expense for no real reward. That should make the the idea of passing out weed candy unappealing, even for someone who is dead set on doing something to screw with kids. This is especially true because there are all sorts of free ways to taint Halloween candy (or any other food). A person could dunk the cheap gum in the toilet and let it dry. Those rappers aren't water tight. He or she could rub the outer rappers in some dog shit and wipe off the excess so the kids unknowingly put food in their mouths with turd fingers. There are countless things that are a lot worse and a lot cheaper than weed that could be used to really mess up someone's candy, if that's your goal. You probably shouldn't do that, though. I can't stress that enough.
Finally, those of us who buy weed tend to consume it ourselves and we aren't in the habit of giving it away to strangers who did not ask for it. That is not to say that we are greedy with our weed. Many would happily smoke with a stranger, in most cases. However, it is fair to ask why we would waste weed on people who probably don't want it. "We wouldn't want to do that at all," is the answer that the majority of cannabis consumers would give. "If those school kids want to get high, they can save their lunch money and buy their own weed, like I did when I was in school" is what most stoners would probably yell at the person who suggested throwing a months worth of edibles into the candy bags of masked children.
If you happened to have been worried about finding weed mixed into your kids Halloween candy, I think that you can relax and if you weren't, maybe you calm others who have that fear but go ahead and check the treats, anyway. I think I made a fair case for why it is unlikely that someone wants to feed cannabis random kids. Those fears are largely spread by propaganda pieces, like the one that appeared on USA Today's website. They have an agenda behind them and it is one that only serves the authorities and corporations who benefit from the continuation of the drug war. We can disregard them and argue against them when we have the opportunity. Those lies are harder for the authority to maintain if we continue to speak the truth often and loudly. That being said, it is still a good idea to check Halloween candy before you let the kids go to town on it. As I pointed out, there are other and far more harmful things to worry about when you take food from strangers. Making sure that it, at least, looks normal is probably prudent. It could contain poison, broken glass, or somebody's bodily fluid. Come to think of it, if you only find weed candy and none of those other things, I would actually dare to call that a win, if I'm being honest.
Here are some links to articles that deal with this subject but there are many others like them, if you care to do any further digging:
The post that I referenced at the beginning of this post was published by @cannuration who is an active member and avid supporter of the Steemit cannabis community.
All the images in this post are sourced from the free image website, unsplash.com.