HENDERSON, Texas (KLTV) - At first glance, they look like a regular bag of chips or candy. But take a closer look and you’ll see the products are actually infused with THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes a person high.
In Henderson, police recently discovered a large amount of THC-infused vape pens and snacks during a routine traffic stop. The discovery has them sounding the alarm for parents in the area.
“The vapes and the edibles and the marijuana, pretty sure it call came out of California,” said Sgt. Kris Williamson, Henderson PD Narcotics Division.
Williamson has worked with Henderson police for 17 years, all of them in narcotics. He said the large amount of drugs indicates they were not solely for the individual in possession.
”It was going to be sold,” he said. “I think there was roughly 150 vape pens. It’d take you a long time to smoke all of those.”
In March, deputies with the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office also discovered multiple packages of THC-infused candy. They’re discoveries that are happening more and more often, according to authorities.
”What we see in prevention is lots of dangers with that. One I see is product confusion,” said Kim Simmons with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.
According to Simmons, edibles like the ones discovered in Henderson are not only a danger to kids who may not see the “THC-infused” labels on the packaging, but also to the teen and adult users who may over-consume them as the result of the delayed onset of effects.
”If I don’t see a reaction from any of the edibles I’m ingesting, well, my body has to process that, therefore I eat more,” she said.
“They eat some and then they don’t realize that they have to wait about 30 to 40 minutes for it to get into them,” Sgt. Williamson said. “They think I didn’t get high, so they eat more and then they’re really stoned.”
As for how officials deal with this dangerous trend, both Williamson and Simmons agree awareness is key.
”A lot of parents and people don’t want to talk about it because they’re afraid it will put the idea into the young person’s head, or maybe they may don’t know about these. I think the bigger danger is if they don’t know and you don’t tell them, then they’re not prepared when it does come in front of them,” Simmons said.
In Texas, THC gummies and other edibles are not in the same penalty category as marijuana. They’re part of a drug penalty group that is among the most heavily regulated, including PCP and Ecstasy.