Tri-City Herald: Extra care needed to keep pot edibles away from kids

Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington State for those over 21. That was the will of a majority of our state’s voters.

There was bound to be fallout from that decision.

Some in the education system are saying pot use among high school students is on the rise because the drug is more accessible now that retail outlets are open in the region.

Others expect to see fewer pot-related incidents in their schools.

What we know for certain is that for decades a number of teenagers have used or experimented with pot during their high school years. That is nothing new.

And while there is more anecdotal than actual evidence that use is on the uptick by area teens, it’s something to be taken seriously.

Now that pot is legal for many, it is seen as more acceptable or mainstream. That may make teens more willing to publicize their use of the drug around schools. Or maybe it’s more accessible because folks are going through legal channels to buy pot. Kids may be able take it from family members who have obtained it at a retail outlet, or there may be folks out there willing to buy it for minors, just as happens with alcohol and cigarettes.

Whatever the distribution channel, one of the greatest concerns is with items known as edibles. It’s one thing for a teen to knowingly smoke it, but it’s quite another for them to eat a treat that contains pot without their knowledge.

Edibles and their impact on kids were such a concern that the sale of pot-laced treats was delayed. In some cases, products were approved and then the state Liquor Control Board, which regulates the marijuana industry, changed its mind because these treats were too appealing to children.

Edibles come in the form of chocolate bars, energy drinks, candy and more. It’s not hard to see how that could appeal to youngsters and be ingested by mistake. Or some nefarious soul could feed an edible to an unknowing victim for kicks.

Ingesting pot can have brutal effects on the body, especially to a novice user. On a kid it’s even worse.

But with new and legal channels bringing edibles to a mass market, we need to be vigilant that our kids are protected. The liquor board is correct in its abundance of caution. And grown-ups should know better than to provide pot — in any form — to underage students.