Indiana dealers using THC-laced candy to attract young people

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s a disturbing trend that has gained traction in recent years: instead of smoking pot, people are eating it. They are called “edibles” and contain THC, which is a key ingredient found in marijuana. What many don’t know is that it poses a far greater risk, because they contain a higher concentration of THC.

“They’re getting them through some sort of black market,” said Jerri Lerch of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium. “That could be online or on the web, or some sort of physical transaction of some kind.”

Marijuana dealers are targeting young people, and much of it is done online. Buyers order the candies online and use them to get high discreetly.

“They tweet targeted young people about the availability of attractive marijuana products,” said Lerch. “The sooner a young person begins using an addictive substance, the longer they will have lifelong product sales.”

Lerch said we could be seeing the effects of that in Noble County, Indiana. Several students at West Noble High School were caught trying to deal lollipops laced with THC. The small suckers could pack a big punch. Typically, edibles can contain anywhere between 70 and 100 percent of THC. Marijuana has just 17 to 30 percent.

“A really strong overdose of marijuana acts very much like a psychotic episode,” said Lerch. “People get agitated and do some crazy things.”

She said parents need to be vigilant.

“Whether a parent is going through a backpack looking for red suckers or looking through a phone for text conversations about the dealing, the biggest piece is parents need to be communicating,” said Lerch.

Not paying attention could come with some major consequences. Lerch said according to statistics children who use marijuana are three times less likely to graduate high school, two-and-a-half times less likely to go to college, and four times as likely to not finish college.

It’s not clear if the students at West Noble will be arrested and charged. Lerch said she hopes the students understand the severity of their actions.

“This is a serious illegal substance,” she said. “And the behaviors that they’re doing leads to no good results in the future.”

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