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Tainted candy is not the scariest monster this Halloween

With Halloween approaching rapidly, let’s go back in time to when most of us coveted the holiday as a time of the year where coating our teeth in corn syrup and chocolate was undoubtedly the best feeling in the whole wide world. Our parents would hand us pillow cases and a flashlight and send us out to collect the sweet nectar of the gods: candy

But there was always a catch. At the end of the night my candy was always split in half, and my soul tortured as the leftovers were “hidden” in plain sight. And after I devoured the half of my candy I was actually allowed to have, life’s struggle manifested in arms just barely too short to help me reach into the mouth of the forbidden bowl. Now that I look back on it, Halloween was kind of a bummer.

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But as Colorado continues to gain a reputation as a “Mile High” state in more ways than one, kids this Halloween have to put up with another bummer that is arguably the most ridiculous one yet. And with the help of police, parents are now living in fear of the ominous pot edible — and terrified of their kids getting baked off their neighbor this Halloween.

The Denver Police Department is currently receiving the most criticism around the issue, after creating a video warning and a Facebook photo campaign about Halloween candy and marijuana. The video shows a marijuana industry professional explaining how THC-infused candies are created, while the camera shows close-ups of presumably infused candies next to non-infused candies; the idea being that it is virtually impossible for “even an expert in the field to tell you whether a product is infused or not.”

The professional goes on to explain that parents should be on the lookout for unfamiliar-looking candy that is not from a major candy company like Hershey’s, and to get rid of any candy that looks like it may have been tampered with.

There are a couple problems with this video warning. The biggest one has to deal with the fact that messages like this can contribute to some of the misconceptions people have about marijuana, and even edibles specifically. The second problem is that with any misconception comes a certain panicky fear of the unknown. And like any other controversial topic, sometimes the more reliable research and facts in the conversation are lost in a sea of flashy claims from extreme sides of the debate.

While I commend the Denver Police Department for using a seemingly knowledgeable person in the field as part of their warning, there is a chance that the content in this video will be one of the only things parents learn about edibles in general. The video is an act of fear mongering, and it is ridiculous that parents may be more willing to trust a one minute and 30 second video from the police more than they trust their own common sense.

It’s simple enough. You wouldn’t let your kids eat anything that looked questionable, and the same applies to Halloween candy. And realistically, what kind of stoner is really going to spend a bunch of money on edibles that they don’t even get to enjoy? These ideas do not come from a police warning, statistics or some fancy research. They come from the human ability to think critically and use common sense.

My message to parents — and anyone concerned about consuming marijuana without knowing it this Halloween — is simple. Be aware, but think for yourself. Take care of those whom you care about, and those whom you are responsible for. And, most importantly, understand that there are far more serious things that could hypothetically happen to someone on Halloween, or any other day of the year.

Collegian Columnist Sarah Ash can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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