I am focused on a topic that demands immediate attention: the alarming rise in children accidentally ingesting cannabis products.
The statistics are deeply concerning. In 2017, we had around 200 reported cases of accidental ingestion. However, in just four years, that number has skyrocketed to a staggering 3,054 cases in 2021—an alarming increase of 1,375%. This disturbing trend puts our children's health and safety at risk.
Cannabis poisoning can have severe consequences for young children, leading to seizures, rapid heart rate, dizziness, and respiratory distress. It is heart-wrenching to hear that children as young as two years old have been hospitalized due to accidental ingestion. These incidents highlight the urgent need to prevent further harm to our children.
One significant contributing factor to these accidents is the misleading packaging of cannabis products. It is easy to see why young children confuse these products with candy. The packaging is designed to be bright, imitates popular candy brands, and even feature beloved Disney characters. This blatant marketing tactic directly contradicts the promise made when marijuana was legalized in California: that products would not be marketed to children. This promise has not been kept.
To address this issue head-on, I am proud to announce that I will introduce legislation tomorrow supporting AB 1207. This bill, authored by Assemblywoman Irwin, will hold cannabis manufacturers accountable for their promise. It will prohibit the production of cannabis or cannabis products that are attractive to children, as well as any advertisement or marketing that targets children.
Let us unite as a community to support AB 1207 and ensure its successful passage. Together, we can create a safer environment for our children, free from the risks posed by inappropriate marketing and accidental cannabis ingestion.