Police discover first instances of drug at Centennial High School and Centennial Learning Center
Its cheap, easily concealable and students are using it get high even during class.
Police also fear its sweet taste appeals to children, especially those who are hesitant to smoke the drug.
Weed candy, a sugary treat laced with marijuana, is in its infancy of popularity but becoming more readily available in local schools, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham Police spokesman.
Within the past month, police have confiscated the candy from three students at Centennial High School and Centennial Learning Center, but Grandjean said this form of marijuana is circulating on other local campuses as well, he said.
Weed candy is new to schools in East County, he said, adding that students are attracted to its price and the ability to use it without being noticed.
Ive been a police officer 15 years and Ive never seen it before, said Rick Blake, school resource officer, who works for the Gresham Police Department. Ive been talking to some kids in passing and asking how popular is this stuff, is it really out there? And it is.
Pieces that are roughly the size of a walnut each sell for about $1 to $1.50, and some students are ingesting it during class in front of teachers who think theyre eating candy.
And the big thing is its odorless, Blake said. Thats what all the kids are saying; they can sit and eat it or suck on it during a class period.
The candy also is easy to make, according to police interviews with students caught possessing the candy.
It takes a few simple household ingredients, such as sugar and corn syrup, as well as adding Kool-Aid or Crystal Light for the color and flavor. The substance is molded by pouring it into a tray. Four pieces confiscated off a student at Centennial Learning Center were shaped like skulls.
And an entire batch can be made in a relatively short amount of time.
Gresham Police are still waiting for lab results to identify the ingredients being used. Authorities also are still trying to identify a dealer who made and supplied the candy to students, Blake said.
One of the reasons police are determined to combat the spread of weed candy is because its sweet taste and candy appearance make it more appealing to students, Blake said.
Its readily available and very marketable to kids, he said.
Also, smoking marijuana via traditional measures, such as a bong or a pipe, may seem intimidating, but Blake believes some kids wont have the same hesitations when its presented in the form of candy.
I think this is going to be a gateway to kids who wanted to try marijuana but maybe thought it was taboo to smoke it, he said, adding that the candy may encourage children to try smoking marijuana and possibly continue to experiment with other drugs from there.
And while locally this is a new form of the drug, individuals accused of handing out, selling or using weed candy will face the same criminal charges as those possessing marijuana plants or buds, Grandjean said.
Gresham Police have sent letters to local high schools telling them to be on the lookout for weed candy.
But the first line of defense is still going to be at home, Blake said.
Authorities hope to inform parents about the drug and ensure that its not mistaken for store-bought candy.
Blake said that in addition to looking out for bongs, pipes or marijuana leaves, parents should remember that weed candy is now available as well. Also, if the pieces are in a plastic sandwich bag, that could be a sign that its a drug, not candy.
If your kid was sucking on a piece right in front of you or had a bag on the counter, if I looked at this, I wouldnt think anything, Blake said, gesturing toward the seized weed-candy skulls. But now that were giving the education piece to parents in the community, take a second look at it.
Blake added that parents should look for the same side effects of marijuana use, such as slow-motor movement, slurred speech, increase in appetite and lack of productivity.
Recently, police also confiscated chocolate truffles laced with weed.
But right now, weed candy appears to be the bigger concern, and administrators and authorities are trying to keep its popularity from growing.
Its not a problem right now, Blake said. But it definitely rises to the level of concern for us, and its on our radar.