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Look Out for Illegal Cannabis Edibles Mimicking Popular Snacks, California DOJ Says

In California, legal cannabis products must be affixed with the universal symbol that includes an encircled triangle with a marijuana leaf and exclamation mark in it. The letters ‘CA’ are imprinted below it. If you see indications of copycat packaging or do not see the universal symbol, the product is illicit — and may be dangerous. 

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California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office insists that if a child has accidentally consumed these illicit products, monitor them for symptoms of intoxication. California’s Poison Control System has a 24-hour hotline available for immediate assistance. 
California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office insists that if a child has accidentally consumed these illicit products, monitor them for symptoms of intoxication. California’s Poison Control System has a 24-hour hotline available for immediate assistance. 

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ | California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

Last week California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a “consumer alert” warning Californians that cannabis-infused edibles are being packaged and sold as copycat versions of popular food and candy products.

The California Department of Justice is advising consumers that illegal and unregulated edibles may contain dangerously high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis, and they are available in packaging nearly identical to those of popular brands like Cheetos, Fruity Pebbles, and Sour Patch Kids.

Bonta is urging Californians not to consume these dangerous knockoffs and to report the products if they encounter them.

“While cannabis-infused edibles packaged to look like our favorite brands may seem harmless and fun, the dangers of consuming unregulated and untested cannabis products are high, particularly for children and teens,” Bonta said. “The fact is: here in California, we have a safe, regulated, and legal cannabis market. But if a product is being marketed to children, mimicking a well-known consumer brand, and advertising sky-high levels of THC — it’s not likely to be a part of it.”

Cannabis-infused edibles describes any food or drink containing marijuana or any of its active ingredients, most often THC and cannabidiol (CBD), according to the Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab (RVDAR), a California drug rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment program.

Generally, the edible product is infused with cannabis extract. Marijuana is heated in an oil-based liquid to obtain the extract, RVDAR explains.

“Compared to other ways of consuming marijuana, edibles are known for producing a delayed high. Further, they may be more discreetly consumed than marijuana from a blunt, vape pen or bong,” according to RVDAR.

The California cannabis industry is regulated by the state’s Business and Professions Code and is covered by the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

According to Bonta, the edible products sold by unlicensed operators, often contain levels of THC that exceed the legal limit, and are advertised to youth in violation of MAUCRSA, which sets up a basic framework for product licensing, oversight and enforcement.

Cannabis businesses have to follow the same rules that other businesses in California follow. For example, there are rules in the statutes about waste disposal, protecting the environment, vehicle registration and paying taxes.

Bonta’s office makes the following recommendations:

Identify Lookalike Products:

Californians should look for copycat packaging with language that indicates that the product contains cannabis — such as “medicated,” “THC,” “CBD,” “keep out of reach of children and animals,” and/or an image of a cannabis leaf.

In California, legal cannabis products must be affixed with the universal symbol that includes an encircled triangle with a marijuana leaf and exclamation mark in it. The letters ‘CA’ are imprinted below it. If you see indications of copycat packaging or do not see the universal symbol, the product is illicit — and may be dangerous.

Know The Health Risks:

Illegal cannabis products present a risk to public health and safety. Children can experience a variety of delayed symptoms upon ingesting cannabis edibles, including, but not limited to difficulty breathing, lethargy, dizziness, nausea, and loss of coordination.

Illegal products made with synthetic cannabinoids may pose additional health risks. Synthetic cannabinoids can be highly toxic and are illegal in the state of California. Side effects of consuming synthetic cannabinoids include rapid heart rate, agitation, vomiting, trouble breathing, psychosis, among others.

In recent years, California has seen a surge in pediatric exposure and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) visits related to cannabis edibles, as well as an increase in children as young as 12 who are intentionally using cannabis products.

In 2020, there were 1,173 calls to the Poison Control Center for services related to children aged 0-19 ingesting cannabis products. This is up from 404 calls in 2016, with the biggest increase for children aged 0-5.

California has also seen a rise in emergency room visits related to cannabis poisoning among young children. In 2016, there were approximately 21 visits per 1 million Californians aged 0-5. In 2020, there were approximately 113 visits.

Bonta’s office insists that if a child has accidentally consumed these illicit products, monitor them for symptoms of intoxication. California’s Poison Control System has a 24-hour hotline available for immediate assistance.

The toll-free phone number is (800) 222-1222. Language interpreter services are offered in over 200 different languages and calls are kept confidential.

Upon encountering lookalike cannabis-infused edible products, Bonta is asking the public to file a complaint with the Department of Justice and with the Department of Cannabis Control.

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Barbara Lee

Infrastructure Bill Will Expand Internet Access, Boost Transit, Rep. Barbara Lee Says

“For decades, underinvestment in our physical and social infrastructure has widened the economic gap, put communities at risk, and exacerbated racial and economic inequality,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “And it’s not just a lack of investment. Too often, the infrastructure that we built created more inequality. This infrastructure law now advances equality, equity, and environmental justice unlike any law we have ever seen before.”

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Rep. Barbara Lee with Meg-Anne Pryor, apprenticeship coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 3. Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee’s Press office.
Rep. Barbara Lee with Meg-Anne Pryor, apprenticeship coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 3. Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee’s Press office.

By Post Staff

At a joint press conference on Wednesday, Bay Area Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Nancy Pelosi touted the impact the recently passed infrastructure bill will have on the Bay Area.

“For decades, underinvestment in our physical and social infrastructure has widened the economic gap, put communities at risk, and exacerbated racial and economic inequality,” Lee said. “And it’s not just a lack of investment. Too often, the infrastructure that we built created more inequality. This infrastructure law now advances equality, equity, and environmental justice unlike any law we have ever seen before.”

In regard to environmental justice, Lee points out that billions of dollars will be dedicated to building low-to-no emissions buses and expanding access to EV charging network. “These are critical investments for communities in my district that have suffered from higher levels of air pollution and childhood asthma rates,” she said.

The law will also provide internet access to low-income families across the state. “During the pandemic, we have seen that internet access is an equity issue for kids in East Oakland and other parts of my district, and we need to close that gap,” Lee said.

Besides their individual districts, the Congresswomen pointed out how much California as a whole will benefit from billions in investment to improve highways and bridges, public transportation, and water infrastructure.

“Also, it will help to protect communities like Oakland and Berkeley from another devastating wildfire like the one we experienced 30 years ago,” Lee said. “We are now moving full speed ahead to pass the rest of President Biden’s economic agenda through the Senate to significantly cut the costs of childcare, reduce childhood poverty, address the climate crisis, increase affordable housing, and make other meaningful investments in the quality of life of our families.”

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Art

Poet Laureates Provides Poetry That Heals the Soul

The City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

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The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.
The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.

By Clifford L. Williams

Poetry is a universal language…it’s the song of the heart that feeds the soul.

That was the message shared by five poet laureates from the Bay Area last week at a gathering to introduce the City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores, during an Open Mic event at CoBiz Richmond, in collaboration with Richmond’s Arts and Cultural Commission.

Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

Flores, an 11-year former schoolteacher for the Richmond Unified School District, submitted a few poems and some of his writings to a panel of commissioners last May, who reviewed his work and eventually selected him as the city’s newest poet laureate.

“To me, this is an opportunity to really highlight poetry as an art form accessible to everyone in our city,” said Flores. “I will use this appointment to actively engage young people and adults to allow them the opportunity to not only hear art but to also inspire them to share their work.”

Flores said that since COVID 19, people have been disconnected and now need community bonding to express themselves through art and poetry. “As a poet laureate, I want to grow as an artist and share my work,” said Flores. “It’s fulfilling as a shared humanity to connect and inspire people and a way to spark communication with one another. Once you have that experience, you feel confidence and there’s no going back.”

The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft. Laureates help to bring awareness of poetry and literacy through the arts to their respective communities during their two-year appointments. Each laureate goes through a process involving several steps, outlined by a panel of commissioners, who make the final selections.

“One of the main things we do as poet laureates is to encourage unity within our community through the arts,” said Mitchell. “Our specific responsibilities are to highlight poetry as an outlet to allow people to express themselves.

“As poet laureate, we put on events to encourage our community to become more involved and aware, and to be more unified in bringing awareness, unity, respect and love within the community. Because of the pandemic, we are all trying to figure out our new norm.

“With everything that has been going on for the past two years, I firmly believe it’s important that we as a community, and I as a poet laureate, need to bring harmony back into our lives,” she said. “It is my quest and priority to promote that. We are neighbors, we are friends, we are a community, and we need each other to survive.”

The general public can learn more about their city’s poet laureate events and activities by contacting their Arts and Cultural Commission.

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Commentary

Closing the Loss of Learning Reading Gap

The new community-based non-profit, Right Path to Learning, promotes early literacy in these first crucial years while there’s still a chance to make a difference. They set out to prove that children in under-performing and under-resourced schools can thrive with the right resources.

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The EnCompass Summer School Pilot proved to be a successful partnership between Right Path to Learning, Sylvan Learning, and the families and staff of EnCompass Academy.

By Conway Jones

Reading is the foundation of a good education and fundamental to success in life.

Can you imagine your life without reading? What if you couldn’t read well enough to follow directions, conduct your business, or even enjoy a good book?

Success starts early. Until 3rd grade, children are learning to read; after third grade, they’re reading to learn. Students who don’t achieve literacy by third grade fall behind and become bored, frustrated, and unlikely to graduate high school, much less go on to higher education.

The new community-based non-profit, Right Path to Learning, promotes early literacy in these first crucial years while there’s still a chance to make a difference. They set out to prove that children in under-performing and under-resourced schools can thrive with the right resources.

This summer, they did it. RPL hired Sylvan Learning to provide 15 children, 50 hours of support education to help them achieve literacy at EnCompass Academy in East Oakland.

Sylvan Learning tested the children at the beginning of the program: they were one year to over two years behind grade level in literacy. At the end of RPL’s five-week program, 93% of the students enrolled in the RPL pilot program at EnCompass completed it and the attendance rate was 86%, or an average of 43 hours completed in the 50-hour program.

Students advanced by almost 50% of a school year to grade level. Students grew on all three components of the Sylvan Outlook Survey, indicating a 25% increase in their engagement with school, improvement in their academic perseverance, and their confidence in reading.

All of the parents surveyed indicated that the program was beneficial, that it helped their child read better, their child enjoyed the program, and their confidence in reading improved.

As the parent of one of our students put it, “If you believe in it, you can do it!”

The EnCompass Summer School Pilot proved to be a successful partnership between Right Path to Learning, Sylvan Learning, and the families and staff of EnCompass Academy.

The school staff was thrilled with the overall academic improvements and is eager to partner again next spring. Based on the success last summer, Right Path to Learning will provide additional services to the Oakland Unified School District students in the advancement of its goal of ensuring that 2,000 under-resourced students reach literacy by the end of 3rd grade.

“Our children made substantial progress in confidence and in reading growth. Because of that, a student shared that she is now spending two hours at the library because she is able to read better,” said Minh-Tram Nguyen, principal at OUSD’s EnCompass Academy. “That’s a powerful testimony to the program’s success, and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Right Path to Learning,” she continued.

Right Path to Learning program will move from a Summer School program to an After School program starting January 2022.

In 10 years, these third graders will be 18-year-old adult members of our community, on their way to productive lives and life-long learning.

For more information, visit www.RightPathtoLearning.

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