Groups Take Aim at Marijuana-Flavored Candy

An advertising montage for Chronic Candy. i

An advertising montage for Chronic Candy features -- amid other enticements -- popular rap artists. Coalition Against Chronic Candy hide caption

itoggle caption Coalition Against Chronic Candy
An advertising montage for Chronic Candy.

An advertising montage for Chronic Candy features -- amid other enticements -- popular rap artists.

Coalition Against Chronic Candy

'Dope Candy'

Whether it is Chronic Candy or a rival brand — Kronic Kandy — the product is widely known as "dope candy." In Atlanta, many retailers who received a letter or a personal visit from the Coalition Against Chronic Candy quickly decided the product wasn't worth selling. They didn't want to be picketed.

Others now hide it away behind the counter. The Coalition's George Crawford says that in the beginning, it was easy to identify stores because of ads and stickers they placed on their windows. "There were buckets and boxes of the candy," Crawford said. "All that disappeared." Now, he says, it's hard to find out who is selling the product.

"They only sell to people they know," Crawford says.

Some merchants say they never sold the candy. In two convenience stores in Rockmart, Ga., where police and the mayor say the candy was sold, clerks working there denied it. In the town of about 3,800 people, it's against the law now.

Police officers in Rockmart check up on stores on a regular basis to make sure they're complying with the law passed last year that bans the sale of the candy and any drug paraphernalia. Police Chief Larry Harris says the candy has disappeared from where it was once sold, right on the counters next to chocolate bars and bags of potato chips.

"It's a tight-knit community," Harris says. "Everybody cares about everybody. They're interested in making sure the town stays without crime."

— Kathy Lohr

The Chronic Candy bus sits outside Morehouse College in Atlanta. i

The Chronic Candy bus sits outside Morehouse College in Atlanta. Coalition Against Chronic Candy hide caption

itoggle caption Coalition Against Chronic Candy
The Chronic Candy bus sits outside Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The Chronic Candy bus sits outside Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Coalition Against Chronic Candy

Marijuana-flavored candy has been making its way into stores across the country. One popular brand is called Chronic Candy. It looks like regular green and purple lollipops and gummy worms — but it tastes like marijuana.

Stars such as Snoop Dog and Paris Hilton endorsed Chronic Candy, and the product began popping up in convenience stores and gas stations. New York, Chicago and other cities have banned it or passed resolutions condemning its sale. Georgia is among the states that have taken the lead in trying to get a statewide ban.

"This candy tells young people that marijuana is fun and safe," says George Crawford, of the Coalition Against Chronic Candy. "It's a gateway product… it promotes marijuana use among young people… and that’s a problem."

When Crawford’s group first saw the lollipops in stores, members asked merchants to stop selling them. They picketed places that refused to drop the candy. Now Crawford says those who still sell it are more secretive and harder to find. Some keep it hidden under the counter to avoid attracting attention.

Chronic Candy contains no THC, the chemical that produces the high in people who smoke marijuana, but that doesn’t matter to community activists and to Georgia Sen. Vincent Fort, who sponsored a bill to ban the candy this year.

The president of Chronic Candy, based in Corona, Calif., did not return phone calls. The Web site says the candy is adult-oriented and not meant for anyone younger than 18.

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