I-TEAM: Trick-or-treat; don’t eat

Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 5:59 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you have kids, Tuesday is a big night. Halloween means bags of candy after going door to door.

But some companies are copycatting the popular candies.

And these treats are tricking kids into more than a sugar high.

An Augusta grandmother contacted our Call for Action office, and she was very upset.

She said her granddaughter in middle school bought a pack of candy from a classmate.

The package looked just like the package of a popular candy, but it was a copycat.

It happened Sept. 19 at Glenn Hills Middle School, according to records, which stated:

Nature of call: THC overdose.

“Took a gummy is now vomiting, feeling sick.”


Reports like this are skyrocketing across the country, with kids getting sick after accidentally eating THC- or Delta 8-infused candies.

The Georgia Poison Control Center had a whopping 96% increase in calls just last year, more than half overdoses involving school-age children.

Dr. Marshal Bedder says today’s edibles sold legally in Georgia are nothing like your uncle’s special brownies.

“It is responsible for a lot of admissions to the emergency room for psychotic behavior, suicidal behavior,” Bedder said.

“So here this says it’s sugar, it’s syrup, it’s fructose and starch,” Bedder said, reading a label. “I’m looking for any ingredient. Delta 8 is what it’s saying. … So what is Delta 8? Delta 8 is basically like THC.”

While there is a legal limit how much THC can go into an edible, there is no regulation for Delta 8 products.

And access to products is as easy as a drive down Washington Road.

Our first stop was Franny’s Farmacy. We bought one that has Delta 9 and CBD in it.

At Your CBD Store or Sunmed, we got strawberry-banana gummies.

Some packages contain the warning: “21 years and up. … Keep out of reach of children and animals.”

But it’s only a suggestion, not a legal requirement in Georgia.

The federal government found some companies marketing edibles containing Delta 8 THC with packaging and advertising that mimic candy and snack brands that are popular with children.

At CBD Central, we got three packs of gummies that look a lot like candy that you would buy at a gas station.

For Canaburst Gummies, Gas Head Xtremes, Zittles (not Skittles), packaging is nearly identical to the real candy.

Is a 12-year-old going to notice the difference?

“There’s a problem,” Bedder said. “But the parents have to be more aware and they’ve got to be, I think, aware to tell their child.”

When comparing the copycat and real candies outside of the packages, even an adult can’t tell the difference between the two.

“We’re talking about Halloween coming up,” Bedder said. “I can see the connection, obviously. But I would be careful ... go through the candies before you let them loose. I think even in the olden days, you know, people looking for razor blades and integrity of the package – it’s an extension now that we have to look for things like this, as well.”

Meaning what looks like a treat could be a trick.

The concern is more than just a kid getting high off an edible because there are no regulations pertaining to Delta 8. We don’t know exactly what is in all of these candies because there are no regulations when it comes to Delta 8.

Lawmakers in Georgia are realizing it’s a problem.

They tried to pass two bills this year:

  • One would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy these edibles.
  • The other would set some sort of standard for what can go into these products while making the minimum age 21.

Neither bill made it.

Another I-TEAM investigation ...