COVID-19 has been a concern for Central Coast Health Departments ahead of Halloween, but the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says parents should be keeping their eye out for something else as well.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Raquel Zick says that last week, the Sheriff's Cannabis Compliance Team "conducted a traffic enforcement stop of a vehicle (where) they contacted Christian Sandez."
She says they discovered he was in possession of cannabis products including packaged cannabis-infused candy, processed cannabis flower, concentrated cannabis, and cannabis vape products.
Zick explained that Sandez "is not a licensed delivery person nor is he associated with a licensed cannabis retailer."
Black market sales of unlicensed cannabis products is an issue being investigated by the Sheriff's Cannabis Compliance Team. While cannabis candy for sale in local stores is highly regulated in California, it is the unregulated use that the Sheriff's Office is concerned about.
"There are extensive laws that regulate the sale of cannabis including track and trace systems," Zick said.
Local cannabis stores say the same and that ahead of Halloween, there are some things you can watch out for to help differentiate between edibles and regular candies.
"All cannabis products must have a cannabis warning sticker on it," explained Anthony Cantrelle of Coastal Dispensary in Santa Barbara. "Any bags of edibles, joints, or any sort of medicated products must have that symbol."
He believes most people are not going to hand out the edibles they bought for themselves, but rather, people should watch out for "individually wrapped, single serving homemade items."
Zick says the sheriff's office "would like to encourage adults towards safe use," and explains that cannabis products should be handled "in the same way as prescription medications or alcohol within your home."
Another recommendation is to keep legal cannabis products under lock and key and to always proceed with caution when accepting candy from those you do not personally know.