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Educators and lawmakers sound alarm about THC-laced cookies that look like snack for kids

By Carolyn Gusoff

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    LONG BEACH, New York (WCBS) — There is a new warning saying THC-laced cookies are anything but kid stuff.

Educators and lawmakers on Long Island are sounding the alarm, trying to close a loophole that allows the cannabis plant extract called Delta 8 to be sold legally in New York state, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.

They look like snacks for kids, but inside the packets there is a potent dose of THC, sold legally in the state and online.

EMT Joe Lattanzi sounded the alarm to Long Beach parents after an adult became violently ill.

“Dehydration, vomiting, low heart rate. You can have a so-called ‘high’ for 12 hours,” Lattanzi said.

Parents say the packaging is dangerous and the products produce an unregulated and untested high.

“A serving is actually a quarter of a cookie, so if you can imagine if it got in the hands of a child and they ate the whole entire package, what that would do to a kid,” said Alexis Pace of the Long Beach School Board.

“What if your 8-year-old sees cookies and says, ‘Oh, yum.’ The effects on children can be devastating,” state Assembly member Missy Miller added.

Now, a call to ban the hemp extract Delta 8, which is similar but not chemically identical to marijuana.

“Under the name of Delta 8, companies are taking advantage of the loophole by putting their products in packaging that is clearly targeting children in a very dangerous way,” State Sen. Todd Kaminsky said.

They’re asking the public to flood the state Department of Health, which is now considering a ban on Delta 8 amid an uptick in accidental use across the nation.

“There is a lot of THC in this thing and it’s going to cause people to get sick,” Long Beach Police Commissioner Ronald Walsh said.

The cookies have been pulled from the shelves of one Long Beach store, with the owner saying the product was never sold to minors.

Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, said Delta 8 must be regulated — not banned — to ensure it’s safe.

“That sort of packaging only exists in the unregulated market. Every single state that has a legal adult use or medical program has very strict rules about packaging, in terms of having child-proof packaging, not being appealing to children,” Fox said.

In a letter, lawmakers are urging swift action, arguing just as the state is formulating its marijuana industry regulations, to allow a compound so similar to marijuana to go unregulated is ridiculous and dangerous.

The public has a month and a half to contact the state health department to weigh in on Delta 8. Dozens of states have temporarily banned the substance.

Correspondence to the health department should be sent to:

NYS Department of Health Corning Tower Empire State Plaza, Room 2438 Albany, N.Y. 12237

Or an email can be sent to regsqna@health.ny.gov.

The following is a statement from the state health department:

“At this point, the New York State Department of Health’s regulations are proposed and subject to public comment until July 19, 2021. After such time, the department will assess all comments and if no further changes are necessary, adopt the regulations as written, at which time the prohibition on products manufactured with Delta 8 created through isomerization will be immediately effective.”

The health department added:

Delta 8 THC is a derivative of cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant made through isomerization and is therefore not allowed in the state’s cannabinoid hemp program. Delta 8 THC, similar to Delta 9 THC, can get the user high and therefore is not appropriate for the hemp marketplace. It is not banned in the medical program, nor will it necessarily be banned in the adult-use program, as that remains to be seen.

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