Parents are being warned to be vigilant after a large stash of cannabis-laced ‘stone candy’ was found in ‘copycat’ packaging at two suspected drug dens in Sussex.
The edibles – which can contain up to six times more of the psychedelic chemical THC than is allowed in similar drugs – were found by police in colorful packets labeled ‘Stoney Patch’, making them look almost identical to children’s Sour Patch Favorites.
Experts warned that young people who consume cannabis can become “very ill” and may struggle to walk, sit up or breathe normally.
Although designs of cannabis plants on the illegal packages made them distinguishable from the actual children’s candies, officers warn they could easily be mistaken for legal brands – or slipped into the homes of parents who don’t know the difference.
A Sussex Police spokesman said officers attended East Sussex addresses in Bexhill Road, St Leonards and Preston Road, Bexhill on Monday August 8 following information received from the community about suspected drug-related activity.
More than 5kg of cannabis and cannabis resin were found at the two properties, along with almost £5,000 in cash and quantities of cannabis edibles.
Two men, aged 33 and 34, were arrested for “being concerned in the supply of cannabis” before being released under investigation while the investigation continues.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall said: “This was a significant operation with more than 150 separate items seized during lengthy searches at both addresses. It was an operation that also highlights our commitment to listening to community concerns and following up on the information we receive.
“Edible cannabis products can be incredibly dangerous. First, they are often wrapped in colorful and professional-looking packaging that can not only look like legitimate food, but can also be particularly attractive to children and young people.
‘However, these items are produced in often unsanitary conditions and without quality control, which means that those who use these products have no idea how strong they will be, or what contaminants they may contain.
“The consumption of cannabis edibles has been linked to a number of hospitalizations and even deaths, so we are particularly pleased to have removed such a large amount from circulation.”
From 1 November 2018, patients in the UK could be prescribed medical cannabis.
But the drug is still controlled as a Class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for recreational use.
Scientific studies have shown that the drug can relieve depression, anxiety and stress, but heavy use can lead to paranoia and worsen depression in the long term by reducing the brain’s ability to let go of traumatic memories.
The popularity of products containing cannabis oil with the psychoactive chemical THC has increased as it is claimed to have cancer-fighting and other medicinal properties.
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