RCMP retract a statement saying cannabis edibles could prove fatal for children

Cpl. Lisa Croteau said the statement "included references and opinions that are outside of the scope of Nova Scotia RCMP"

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      Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) issued an apology after making false claims about cannabis products seized in a raid.

      In a release this morning (May 8), the RCMP said it confiscated over “$600,000” in cannabis products from Timberleaf Alternative Medical Society—a Halifax dispensary operating without a license.

      The lot of confiscated product included “Lego-shaped” gummies “in excess of 500 mg” of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which “could be a fatal dose for a child.” The statement also said the products “were marketed toward children."

      The scientifically baseless statement was initially published, without challenge, by CBC News. The national news outlet later ran another article on the RCMP's apology and retraction.

      While the adverse effects associated with over-consumption cannot be overstated—including nausea, disorientation, and anxiety—there has never been a reported case of a fatal cannabis overdose in consumers of any age.

      Following public outcries about the lack of evidence behind the claims, the RCMP released another statement, this time choosing to forgo comment on the potential effects of the products or the street value.

      Cpl. Lisa Croteau said the statement "included references and opinions that are outside of the scope of Nova Scotia RCMP." 

      The second release also clarified an initial mistake in listing the cannabinoid content, dropping it from 500 milligrams to 250 milligrams of THC.

      "The source of the information hasn't been confirmed like...all the other opinions within the release," Croteau told a CBC News reporter.

      "There's several people who have access to the website that do releases in the evenings, after hours. And it's just a process that we will have to maybe, I don't know if it's more training, we'll have to just address that issue."

      Although there is little research exploring the effects of over-consumption in children, there is an increasing number of documented cases of parents and medical professionals titrating young patients with high concentrations of cannabis to manage conditions unresponsive to conventional medical treatments. Pediatric research is currently being done to test the efficacy of cannabinoid treatment for symptoms associated with autism, chronic pain, and epilepsy.

      Weed the People, for example, is a documentary chronically the journey of several families as they explore cannabis to treat children diagnosed with severe and terminal illnesses.