According to a study published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics, the number of children younger than six accidentally ingesting cannabis edibles rose 14% as recreational marijuana use became legal and has grown in popularity in the US over the last five years.
A retrospective analysis of the National Poison Data System data reveals that more than 7K confirmed cases of kids eating marijuana edibles were reported between 2017 and 2021 — up from about 200 in 2017 to over 3K in 2021.
Cannabis exposure can be dangerous and life-threatening for young children, which is why urgent local, state, and federal action is required to stop unregulated sellers and copycat products from reaching American households. Kids under six years old can't read the health warnings on pot-laced edibles in the first place. Therefore, by shifting to plain packaging of marijuana products, regulators can reduce their appeal and protect children from accidental ingestion.
While the issue of kids accidentally ingesting cannabis edibles does need to be addressed, a thoughtful, multi-pronged approach is needed. Federal narcotics regulation has barely changed since the 1970s. Regulators can enhance safety for children while loosening the drug classifications that have long punished law-abiding adults. This issue doesn't show that cannabis is dangerous but that regulators must catch up to the times.
There's a 60% chance that cannabis will be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.