Gardai issue warning to parents on dangers of ‘cannabis sweets’

Louise Walsh

Gardai have urged parents to be aware of cannabis sweets which are sweeping the market and are packaged to look almost identical to known brands of popular jellies.

Meath gardai say they have seized a sizeable quantity of the illegal sweets, some laced with dangerous levels of the psychoactive chemical THC.

The brightly-coloured packets look just like they are aimed for kids but usually consist of a 500mg dose of THC.

Last year 13 teenage girls in London were hospitalised after taking the candy drugs and suffered nausea, hyperactivity, elevated heart rates and hallucinations.

In Meath, the sweets have been seized in packets almost identical to well-known sweets leading to fears that a young child would easily be tempted to unwittingly take one.

The sweets are in colourful packs and include names like Trrlli in various flavours such as sour infused octopus, strawberry puffs and peachie as well as Wowheads Sour Jelly Beans, Caribo Happy Cola, Baribo Goldbears and even the popular chews Skittles.

All packs bear the CA (cannabis logo) and the THC content of up to 600mg.

The sweets were discovered as part of bigger hauls of drugs seized by the Meath Divisional Drugs Unit across the county.

A Garda member of the unit has highlighted the drugs in a bid to make parents more vigilant and raise awareness among young teens of the dangers they pose.

“These sweets seem to be the new trend out there at the moment. There are certainly around Meath in the last few months and have popped up quite a bit on drug searches,” they said.

“They are mainly being discovered among hauls of other drugs in properties and I’d say that is because they are relatively new here.

“They are being sold for up to €30 for a bag of five or six sweets and the bags would look very attractive to kids.

“Indeed some of the bags are so like the branded versions that many young kids wouldn’t tell the difference.

“They seem to be branded like the normal jellies to make them more appealing, particularly to a younger market. They are just as potent, if not more potent than regular cannabis.

“They are being brought into the country mainly from Canada and America and they are posing difficult to detect as their smell is masked and they don’t seem suspicious under x-ray.

“However they are dangerous and one young child was hospitalised after taking them in Dublin in the last few months.

“Younger children would have no hesitation in taking them if offered or left out on a table or somewhere near them.

“We would like to ask parents to be vigilant and raise awareness of them with your children. If anyone is offered any of the sweets for sale or to try, please contact your nearest garda station.”

Meanwhile a local councillor has raised his concerns after a teenager was offered the Stoney Patch sweets in Ratoath last week.

“I am particularly worried about these because they look so much like the branded sweets that we all know,” said Independent Cllr Nick Killian.

“One mother came to me after her daughter was offered a packet for €20. Thankfully she refused them and subsequently told her parents.

“We can’t be naive that drugs don’t exist in all our communities and we need to be mindful of that and look out for each other.

“I put up an alert on my Facebook page about these drugs and I received a call giving out to me for daring to say that drugs were in Ratoath and that I was advertising the fact.

“What if one of these jellies were taken by a young child? I think parents should be concerned that these ‘sweets’ are being peddled freely around the village and maybe chats should be had between them and all the teenagers and children here.”