Childproof? More kids accidentally exposed to marijuana since legalization

About half of US states have passed laws to allow the use of medical marijuana among adults with certain health conditions. Four states, including Colorado, have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, making it available for purchase by adults over the age of 21 in various forms like cigarettes, concentrated liquids, and edibles. In discussions about the legalization of marijuana, concerns were raised about the potential impact on children. A study published online this week in JAMA Pediatrics suggests those concerns were valid.

Researchers in Colorado examined rates of children’s hospital visits and poison center cases for unintentional marijuana exposure in children 0-9 years of age. They compared the numbers of kids unintentionally exposed to marijuana two years prior to legalization and two years after legalization and found a 150% increase since marijuana was legalized.

To limit children’s exposure to marijuana, Colorado began requiring marijuana products to be sold in childproof packaging in 2015, while a more recent law bans the sale of edible marijuana in the shape of humans, animals, or fruits. Read more at the New York Times: “Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposure Among Colorado Children.”

In 2015, the National Poll on Children’s Health examined public opinions about medical marijuana use. While 63% of adults were in favor of their state legalizing medical marijuana use for adults, they felt differently about children. Just 36% of adults were in favor of legalizing medical marijuana use for children and 80% said adults should not be allowed to use medical marijuana in the presence of children. Read the full report: Support for medical marijuana use lower for kids than for adults.

Opinions about medical marijuana use by adults and children

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What do you think?
What is the best way to avoid unintentional marijuana poisoning?  Do you support state laws to require childproof packaging, and to restrict kid-friendly shapes and flavors? Share your experiences with us on Twitter!