The best part of moral panics is that the people succumbing to them don't realize it. Those Salem Witch Trial perpetrators? They knew that witches abounded (read this excellent biography of Samuel Sewall, a judge who literally wore sackcloth and ashes in penance for his role in executing people). Same thing with the folks behind scares over ritual satanic child abuse in the 1980s (hello, Janet Reno) and so many other bizarro scares.
The latest chapter in this comes courtesy of Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who have introduced "The Protecting Kids from Candy-Flavored Drugs Act of 2017" because...
There are many instances of drug dealers altering flavor and packaging of cocaine or methamphetamines to appeal to children.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) March 30, 2017
The legislation would:
- Provide an enhanced penalty when a person manufactures, creates, distributes, dispenses, or possesses with intent to distribute a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or Schedule II that is:
- Combined with a beverage or candy product,
- Marketed or packaged to appear similar to a beverage or candy product, or
- Modified by flavoring or coloring to appear similar to a candy or beverage product.
Which is to say that it would take aim not so much at coke or meth—we await still the introduction of Sour Kids Meth and Nerds (Now With Even More Cocaine)!—but at various marijuana-laced edibles for sale in states that legalized recreational and medical marijuana. Indeed, despite citing "many instances" of the pusher man wooing innocent boys and girls to the pleasures of coke and meth, Feinstein and Grassley provide no examples in their press releases or legislation. And while it's true that some (legal) pot peddlers have marketed candy-bar-looking products for adults, legalization in Colorado has not increased marijuana use by adolescents.
But why ruin a bad piece of bipartisan legislation being pushed by two senators whose collective age is 166 years old by insisting that they prove their case? If this bill protects just one kid from a candy-flavored drug, it will be worth it. Especially to Feinstein and Grassley.