Concerned with the increasing rates of accidental marijuana ingestion by children and youth, Oklahoma Rep. Cynthia Roe (R), chair of the Public Health Committee requested an interim study that would look further into the issue. The study is scheduled for Monday at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The purpose of the study is to stress the increase in the number of these incidents and to suggest prevention solutions. The task force that has been analyzing the impacts of medical marijuana legalization on children shares the information it has gathered in the previous months.
According to Fox25, the interim study will include:
Data showcasing the number of incidents of accidental cannabis ingestion by children.
The lack of a clear definition for ‘child-resistant packaging’ in the SQ 788 statute.
The urging need for expanded statewide prevention efforts in regards to cannabis.
Representatives from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) will talk about the issue of packaging statutes, while The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth will share current prevention measures and potential allocations of the Legislature’s OMMA Fund prevention initiatives.
In 2018, when Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana there were around 14 cases of children exposed to cannabis reported to the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information. In 2022, that number climbed to a staggering 269 cases, reports News On 6.
One of the reasons why this is happening, say experts, is that medical marijuana patients are not locking their medicine away like other medications. Another, cannabis edibles look a lot like regular candy.
“I cannot trust a two-year-old not to get into a gummy bear if it looks like a gummy bear or candy bar or butter or brownie or whatnot. So as the consumer, I need to take full responsibility to put it up, lock it up, get it outside the house,” said Dr. Ryan Brown, an ER pediatrician at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.
Oklahoma is not the only state experiencing a rise in cases like these, and cannabis is not the only substance children have been accidentally ingesting in recent years. A JAMA Network Open study revealed there has been a 25% increase children aged six and younger ingesting substances such as cannabis, opioids, amphetamines, benzodiazepines and ethanol during the first month of the pandemic in 2020. It is important to note that the study didn’t identify any link between cannabis legalization for medicinal or recreational purposes and the rate of cannabis ingestion events.
Cracking Down On Illegal Cannabis Operations
A two-year extension on the state’s moratorium on issuing licenses to new medical marijuana businesses took effect last week. The moratorium was set to end on Aug.1, 2024, but legislators prolonged it to Aug. 1, 2026, writes Fox 25.
The news comes several months after the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority revealed cannabis growers are producing 32 times more marijuana than it is necessary to meet the demand. Authorities say the oversupply could have to do selling large amounts of cannabis out of state, contributing to the illegal market.
Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Control shared an update on efforts to stop illegal cannabis operations in the state.
“This is about protecting, you know, the industry itself as well as… making sure criminals don’t get a foothold here,” said Woodward adding that investigators closed down hundreds of illegal grows since 2018.
With increased efforts to crack down on illicit cultivators, thousands of operators chose not to renew their licenses on Oct. 31.
“We have had, this past year, close to 3,000 of those farms under investigation. And as a result, the majority of those farms as of this week when they had to… apply and renew their licenses, did not renew,” Woodward said.
Photo: Courtesy of Kindel Media via Pexels
Concerned with the increasing rates of accidental marijuana ingestion by children and youth, Oklahoma Rep. Cynthia Roe (R), chair of the Public Health Committee requested an interim study that would look further into the issue. The study is scheduled for Monday at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Read More