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Sugar high with an illegal twist

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Can you tell the difference between a Buddhafinger and a Butterfinger? What about between a Keef Kat and a Kit Kat?

The former are marijuana-laced candy bars almost indistinguishable, in the packaging anyway, from the popular lunchroom treats.

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. attorney Kelly Benjamin warns that treats made with THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, could be making their way across state borders and into school cafeterias and potlucks.

“Don’t pretend it won’t come here,” she told the school board this week, saying the edibles already have been found as close as Louisville.

Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said there have been no incidents yet with questionable food products imported from Colorado — but he said it’s just a matter of time.

“We’ll deal with what comes,” he said.

That includes educating parents and teachers about the affects of marijuana and to be on the lookout for brownies, candies, cookies and other illegal edibles.

“Parents, you know your kids, and teachers, you know your students,” Myers said. “If you’re seeing a change in behavior, like if a go-getter experiences a total (mood) swing and they’re always tired, you probably need to do some investigating.”

Although federal regulations require marijuana-infused food products to carry labels listing the ingredients and the amount of THC — and they may in the future require child-resistant packaging — Myers said there’s the possibility the edibles are repackaged.

It creates new challenges for law enforcement officers, but he said canines can still pick up on the marijuana sucker, even if it’s wrapped in a Blow Pop wrapper.

But kids may not realize the difference, and that causes additional concern for parents and police.

A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found a spike in the number of young children being treated for accidentally eating marijuana-laced cookies, candies, brownies and beverages at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Since marijuana laws were first relaxed in 2009, there were 14 hospital visits by children under the age of 12 for unintentional marijuana ingestion.

“This unintended outcome may suggest a role for public health interventions in this emerging industry, such as child-resistant containers and warning labels,” the authors wrote in the study.

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