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Thursday, May 8, 2008
By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press

ATLANTA — Selling marijuana-flavored candy to children will net the seller a $500 fine under a ban that may be the first of its kind in the nation.
Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a law Wednesday banning the sale of “marijuana flavored products” to minors. It slaps violators with a misdemeanor and imposes a fine of up to $500 for each offense.
The law, which takes effect July 1, targets businesses that sell candies with drug-inspired names such as “Kronic Kandy” and “Pot Suckers.” Those candies, the measure says, give children the “false impression that marijuana is fun and safe.”
Vote Hemp, a national organization that promotes the use of hemp products and tracks legislation, says the law would make Georgia the first state to ban the sale of the candy to minors.Marketers argue that the pot-flavored sweets are a harmless novelty and say they advise retailers to sell the stuff only to customers 18 or older. They say the candies are flavored with hemp essential oil, a legal product that gives them the taste of marijuana but doesn’t make the user intoxicated.
Tom Murphy, Vote Hemp’s national outreach coordinator, called the Georgia measure flawed and warned it could damage the “legitimate and legal hemp food industry.”
“This law may unintentionally ban hemp foods and other hemp products in Georgia as well,” said Murphy. He added that the law could also apply to hemp foods such as hemp milk, hemp granola and even cosmetics such as lip balm made with hemp.
The measure warns in a preamble that marijuana flavored candy may serve as a “gateway” to use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, and asserts that merchants selling the candy are “creating new customers for drug dealers.”
“The sale of marijuana flavored products, including lollipops and gum drops, which claim ‘every lick is like taking a hit’ is a marketing ploy that perpetuates an unhealthy culture and should not be permitted in the state of Georgia,” it reads.
Backers of the bill also warned that some dealers were luring children by selling them pieces of the candy.
One of the sponsors, state Rep. Judy Manning, R-Marietta, told lawmakers, “They’re selling for $4 to $8 apiece. It’s quite expensive and it’s quite detrimental to our children.”
A handful of communities have enacted similar bans.
New Jersey lawmakers passed a resolution in 2005 urging the state attorney general to investigate the issue, according to Vote Hemp. The sale of marijuana-flavored candies has also been outlawed in Chicago, Suffolk County, N.Y., Schaumburg, Ill., and parts of Alameda County, Calif.
Perdue’s signature marked the end of a three-year effort in Georgia to target marijuana-flavored candy.A similar measure passed the House last year but never reached a vote in the Senate. And a 2006 effort that would have banned all sales of the candy and threatened repeat offenders with prison time never reached a vote.

http://news.jacksonville.com/justin/2008/05/07/georgia-bans-sale-of-pot-flavored-candy-to-kids/


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