British Columbia

Vancouver 4/20: Stop selling edibles to minors say health officials

Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly is asking vendors at this year's Vancouver's 4/20 event not to sell to underage participants.

Dr. Patricia Daly says more than 100 people ended up in hospital last year, some as young as 15

A young man at the 2013 edition of Vancouver's annual 4/20 smoke-in. The 2015 event resulted in more than 100 people in hospital, some as young as 15. (CBC)

Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer is asking organizers of this year's 4/20 event not to sell edible cannabis products to minors.

Dr. Patricia Daly says more than 100 people ended up in hospital last year, some as young as 15, and edibles were to blame in about 75 per cent of those cases.

"I don't know if we have any other gatherings in the City of Vancouver that would result in those types of numbers of people coming to local hospitals. So that's reason enough for concern," Daly told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Daly says her request is "very reasonable," and matches the upcoming framework the city is instituting for storefront marijuana sales.

Daly wants organizers to card anyone who looks under 25, the same as a liquor store would do or someone selling tobacco products.

"This is because marijuana is particularly harmful to developing brains," she said.

She says edibles are a particular concern because they take time to become fully effective and a user can consume too much while waiting for the effects to kick in.

She says those who came into hospital were mostly suffering from gastrointestinal distress, but also had "acute anxiety, psychosis and loss of consciousness."

"The effects can be pretty dramatic, particularly for people who've never consumed marijuana before," she said.

Daly says her staff has tried to make contact with 4/20 organizers and vendors via email, but none of them have written back.

She says VCH staff will be at the event, although they will only be there to inform vendors about the dangers of selling to those underage.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: 4/20 is 4 19 and over, Vancouver Coastal Health says


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