1. Home
  2. Society

Cannabis candies found in children’s Halloween treats, Winnipeg police say

Jocelyn Cordeiro says her daughter found a package of cannabis candy in her Halloween bag on Monday. (Jérémie Bergeron/Radio-Canada)

Jocelyn Cordeiro says her daughter found a package of cannabis candy in her Halloween bag on Monday. (Jérémie Bergeron/Radio-Canada)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jérémie Bergeron

RCI

Candies found in small area of south Tuxedo neighbourhood, police say

Winnipeg police are warning parents to check their children's Halloween bags after receiving half a dozen reports of cannabis edibles in kids' treats on Monday.

The cannabis edibles were packaged to look like the popular Nerds candy. They were discovered in children's bags after trick-or-treating in the Tuxedo neighbourhood.

The packages say they contain 600 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive property of marijuana. Canada's maximum THC potency for edibles is 10 milligrams.

The edibles were found inside zipped sandwich bags along with full-size chocolate bars, police said. The reports came from a small area in south Tuxedo, Const. Dani McKinnon said.

THC can be dangerous for children, but no children were harmed, McKinnon said.

The primary concern is that a cannabis product is being distributed to children on Halloween night, she said.

'Horrifying': parent

Jocelyn Cordeiro told CBC News that she was shocked when her nine-year-old daughter found one of the packages in her treats Monday night. 

She picked it up and looked at it and then she said, 'Sixty-minute activation time — what does that mean?' Cordeiro said on Tuesday. It would not have drawn my attention if she hadn't read it.

Cordeiro quickly texted the parents of other kids they went trick-or-treating with. All of them agreed to contact the police about the THC candies, she said.

She also posted her findings on social media to warn other parents.

As she was dropping her daughter off at school on Tuesday morning, Cordeiro found out multiple kids in the area had also received the candies.

It was upsetting. It sort of felt not real at first, she said, calling the incident horrifying.

She plans to check her children's Halloween bags much more closely next year.

Police did not comment on possible motives. They aren't sure what charges could be laid in the case, but said drug testing will be done.

'Not sold in Canada'

Finn Makela, a law professor at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, said Canada's Cannabis Act requires the drug to be accessed either through an authorized reseller or through a licence to grow it at home.

As soon as you have a cannabis product that wasn't purchased or grown through one of those two methods, then you're in possession of illegal cannabis, which is itself an offence, he told Radio-Canada on Tuesday.

Elements of the packaging found in the treat bags don't follow requirements of the Cannabis Act, he said. 

The candy's packaging and label do not follow rules set out by the Cannabis Act, says Finn Makela, a law professor at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec.

The candy's packaging and label do not follow rules set out by the Cannabis Act, says Finn Makela, a law professor at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jérémie Bergeron

It doesn't include the red cannabis logo or a warning about the effects of THC, as required by Health Canada. Bilingual text and information about the amount of cannabidiol (CBD) or how much THC/CBD is in each serving are also missing.

That leads me to believe that [the edibles were] not legally sold in Canada.

Plain packaging and labels are also required for all cannabis products sold in Canada, according to Health Canada's website (new window). Fluorescent-coloured packaging, like the package Cordeiro's daughter found, cannot be sold in stores.

Several offences under the Criminal Code may have been breached if the candies were intentionally distributed to children on Halloween night, Makela said.

If the person responsible unknowingly distributed the candies, then it could constitute criminal negligence, he said.

If there turns out to be no THC in the candies, then the person responsible could be charged with mischief.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Winnipeg police major crimes unit at 204-986-6219.

People should try not to handle the packaging if they discover these candies, police said. They should instead call police and then put the package somewhere safe until police come to get it.

CBC News with files from Jérémie Bergeron

Headlines