Every year around Halloween time, rumors will start to creep up about “marijuana-laced” Halloween candy. Should parents be worried about there being truth behind the rumors?
Some older stories stem from the 1950s that people would “heat pennies on skillets and put them into the hands of trick-or-treaters.” This eventually turned into stories about “arsenic and pins” ending up in children’s candy in the 1960s.
This could be where the fear of marijuana-laced candy came from, but these instances can now be considered ancient Halloween sadism, according to Joel Best, the nation’s top researcher on Halloween candy contamination.
When looking further into information about marijuana-laced candy on Halloween, there have never been any real cases of it showing up in a trick-or-treater’s possession.
“I’ve done the research, and I can’t find any evidence that any child has been killed or seriously hurt by any candy picked up in the course of trick-or-treating. My view is this is overblown. You can’t prove a negative, but it seems unlikely,” Best told Vox.
A reporter for WPVI tweeted a picture of marijuana-infused look-alike snacks in September, warning that police are telling people to look out for these items on Halloween.
In 2019, the Johnstown Police Department in Johnstown Pennsylvania issued a warning stating in a social media post, “We urge parents to be ever vigilant in checking their children’s candy before allowing them to consume those treats. “Drug-laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy.”
The statement released specifically pointed to “Nerds Rope edibles,” which the department had just recently confiscated in a large drug bust.
None of the reports about the Halloween candy warning pointing to “Nerds Rope edibles” disclosed if the intent of the marijuana-infused candy was to be handed out to trick or treaters.
Rolling Stone asked Captain Chad Miller of the Johnstown Police Department specifically about this at the time and he said there was “absolutely no evidence that the edibles were intended for distribution for trick-or-treaters.”
“When asked why the department’s Facebook post implied that the Nerd ropes would be distributed to children, Miller denied that this was how it intended, saying the department just wanted to “raise awareness,” the Rolling Stone report stated.
A similar occurrence happened in 2017, when the Moorestown, New Jersey police department put out a claim that residents should be worried about marijuana candy on Halloween.
“There is a significant presence of marijuana candy and other edible forms in New Jersey and nearby states. The presence of these edible forms of marijuana poses a great risk to users, especially to children, who may accidentally receive marijuana candy during Halloween,” the New Jersey Police statement said.
When further research was done, no proven cases of marijuana specifically being given out on Halloween in the area were able to be confirmed. New Jersey police were not able to provide one instance of this happening according to Greenlight.
Every year, it seems there are “good intended” police departments wanting to warn parents of marijuana-laced Halloween candy, but evidence continues to suggest that there is no proof of this happening.
“Halloween, of course, is a time of fear: ghouls, goblins, haunted houses, and the sheer volume of leftover candy that will be around to tempt you. But it’s not a time to stoke fear about things that aren’t based in evidence and truth — and definitely not a time to demonize marijuana yet again. So fear demons, drunk drivers, and Dum Dums, but there’s no need to fear that edibles will be given out willy-nilly to trick-or-treaters on Halloween,” said Simon Moya-Smith, writer, activist, and professor, in an NBC article.