Speed Reads

Oops

Sheriff mistakes Japanese maple candy for Halloween weed

You've heard the urban legend: Now that marijuana is legal in some states, professionally packaged edibles — including candy — are more easily available, so tricksters will give weed candy to unsuspecting children on Halloween. There's no evidence this has ever happened, and the logic isn't exactly airtight. After all, the weed distributors would never get to see the results of their handiwork, making this an expensive and unfulfilling prank.

Still, the sheriff's office in Bureau County, Illinois, sent out a press release Monday claiming they'd uncovered precisely this plot. Some "parents came forward with suspicious looking candy marked as Crunch Choco Bar," the release said, noting that the candy "has small pictures of cannabis leaves on it." A field test confirmed: It's weed.

Except it isn't. Those "cannabis leaves" on the candy's wrapper are actually maple leaves, and the candy in question is made in Japan by a company named after a type of maple tree. But what about the field test? Well, as The New York Times reported in a lengthy exposé earlier this year, this sort of roadside drug test is notoriously unreliable. In fact, similar tests send unknown thousands of innocent Americans to jail every year, convicting them for possession of misidentified substances like soap, tea, Aspirin, deodorant, chalk, chocolate, and breath mints. Now that's really scary.