Quebec police warn of cannabis-laced gummy bears ahead of Halloween

MONTREAL – It may be nearly Halloween, but authorities in northern Quebec are trying to keep a certain type of gummy bear out of children’s hands.

Authorities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory are warning people to be careful after police recently intercepted a shipment of cannabis-laced candies that was destined for a local Cree community

“The seized drugs are gummy bear candies laced with THC, the ingredient found in cannabis,” the Eeyou Eenou police and the regional public health board said in a joint statement issued last Thursday.

“The gummy bears look the same as regular candy (same shape and colours), some are even sealed in a plastic wrapper as a regular candy would be.”

The news release said authorities still don’t know how much of the drug is in each candy and said they are treating the issue as a potential poisoning risk.

It said symptoms of drug ingestion in children could include difficulty walking, slurred speech, hyperactive muscle movements or nausea.

“We do not know if this type of substance can be found in other Cree communities, so we want to alert all of the communities of the possible risk,” the statement said.

“We are paying a special attention to Halloween, but this alert applies at all times.”

A Quebec provincial police spokesman confirmed a 20-year-old man was arrested on Oct. 21 after being found in possession of more than 300 grams of edible products including rice krispie-type squares, brownies and candies.

Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau said the subsequent police investigation showed the drugs were not intended for Halloween distribution.

He said while the seized items weren’t aimed at children, it’s always a good idea for parents to check their children’s Halloween candy.

“People at all times of the year should be aware of what they’re taking or ingesting,” he said, stressing it is “very unlikely” that edible cannabis products would get mixed up with Halloween candy.

This is not the first time police in Quebec have come across drug-laced gummy bears.

Police north of Montreal seized a small quantity of jujubes in May 2015 that were tested and found to be laced with THC.

Laval police described them as being red, yellow and green in colour, with a fruity smell.

Thibaudeau points out that edible cannabis products are “nothing new,” and likely to become more common as the federal government moves forward on legalizing marijuana next year.

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