By Christie Duffy
It’s not for sale behind any counters in the state. But colorful candies made with THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — are making their way onto New Jersey’s streets. Authorities in Ccean County just broke up an alleged marijuana ring that they say included the candy called “Jollies.”
“It actually very closely resembles Jolly Ranchers. So our big concern is some young child might see that and take it,” said Al Dellafave of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to New Jersey’s Poison Control Center, a 12-year-old in Rumson ate candy laced with marijuana and ended up in the ER.
And just this weekend a man and woman in their 20s called Poison Control in a panic. The hotline’s medical director says the callers reported that they’d eaten THC-laced gummies. The director says the couple also landed in the ER.
Law enforcement and Poison Control say the problem is in the potency.
“From what I’m told by our drug undercover people, it’s basically the equivalent from what they tell me of smoking 20 joints,” Dellafave said.
Officials we talked to say they think this is growing in popularity because it’s so easy to conceal and to consume. And they’re telling local police departments to not just be on the lookout for drugs anymore, but to also be on the lookout for candy.
While medical marijuana is available in the state, Gov. Chris Christie says he’ll never OK recreational marijuana. State Sen. Nick Scutari has introduced a bill that would legalize small amounts of pot for New Jerseyans 21 and up. We asked him about these recent incidents.
“They don’t give me any pause. They give it more impetus to regulate this type of a substance that is already available all over New Jersey,” Scutari said.
An identical bill to legalize marijuana in New Jersey was introduced in the Assembly last week. Both the bills are headed for a debate in the judiciary committee.