ATLANTA – Marijuana-flavored lollipops with names such as Purple Haze (search), Acapulco Gold (search) and Rasta (search) are showing up on the shelves of convenience stores around the country, angering anti-drug advocates.
"It's nothing but dope candy, and that's nothing we need to be training our children to do," said Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who has persuaded some convenience stores to stop selling the treats.
The confections are legal, because they are made with hemp oil (search), a common ingredient in health food, beauty supplies and other household products. The oil imparts a marijuana's grassy taste but not the high.
Merchants call them a harmless novelty for adults and insist they advise stores to sell only to people 18 and older.
"There are more than 70 million people in the United States who smoke marijuana (search). We're catering to the audience of people who are in that smoking culture," said Rick Watkins, marketing director for Corona, Calif.-based Chronic Candy (search), which uses the slogan "Every lick is like taking a hit."
An Atlanta company called Hydro Blunts markets a similar product under the name Kronic Kandy, which is made in the Netherlands.
New York City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez introduced a resolution condemning the candies when she saw them at convenience stores near schools in her district. She plans to hold hearings this summer.
At Junkman's Daughter, an Atlanta novelty shop, the suckers are sold near the cash register from a bucket labeled with a marijuana leaf.
"We've got probably every weird kind of candy there is in here," owner Pam Majors said. "If it was anything you could get high off of, we wouldn't carry it, obviously."