Cannabis packaged in fake Haribo bags are being 'marketed at children' on social media
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It appears drug dealers have been 'marketing their products at children' by bringing cannabis-infused sweets onto the market that have been packaged in counterfeit Haribo bags.
Social media has been used to market the products, with TikTok, Facebook and Instagram selling ‘gummies’ and ‘edibles’ in colourful bags that resemble packets of familiar confectionary brands, such as Haribo, Skittles and Jolly Ranchers.
TikTok in particular is awash with drug dealers advertising their cannabis sweets on the video-sharing platform, along with photos of their products on Instagram.
A channel on the platform for people selling drugs in the UK has almost 30,000 subscribers and distributes cannabis hash in huge quantities worth £4,000.
Police have warned that the packaging makes the drugs more enticing to young children which is, obviously, a huge concern.
Sadly, young children have already been affected by the dupe as eight children are said to have been hospitalised after eating the cannabis sweets, one of which was an eight-year-old, the Daily Mail has reported.
This troubling report states that the drugs can be used to groom children to take part in trafficking operations, known as county lines.
Alarmingly, police forces in the east of England claim that a third of those arrested for cannabis edible related charges are under the age of 18.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Burns said in quotes published by the Mail: “Not only are these substances potentially very dangerous, but they are also illegal and anyone in possession of them risks arrest and prosecution.
“Cannabis edibles are laced with mood altering ingredients which can cause side effects such as loss of consciousness, hallucinations, sickness, and heart problems.
“The way they are branded to look like sweets suggests they are being marketed at children, but worryingly also means that they could easily fall into the wrong hands.
“We also know that gangs involved in county lines will use an array of tactics to target vulnerable young people, and reporting suggests social media is used to advertise the sale of cannabis edibles, potentially to appeal to younger people who are using multiple social media platforms.
“I would urge parents to be alert to the sale of these substances and the dangers they present.
"Anyone with information on their sale or who thinks a child is being exploited to sell them should contact their local police force right away.”