Candy infused with THC is popping up in La Crosse, likely trafficked into the area from states that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana.

La Crosse police first discovered eight gummy bears laced with THC on Sept. 7 when an officer stopped Keith Roseff of Madison for speeding on Lang Drive. An investigator on Jan. 3 found two more sugarcoated gummies in the shape of bow ties on Central High School student Antoine Bell, who said he paid $30 for each, according to court records.

“In Colorado, they’ve found ways to put THC resin in just about everything you can possibly imagine,” said Michael Dolan, an internal medicine doctor at Gundersen Health System. “It’s not surprising they’ve made their way to the Midwest.”

Online videos offer instructions how to make the gummies at home, although police suspect those found locally were manufactured professionally.

Police face new challenges when drugs take new forms.

“We have to be observant and not overlook anything,” La Crosse police investigator Cory Brandl said.

Anyone caught with the gummies faces a charge of possession of THC or a more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute if arrested with a large quantity, La Crosse County Deputy District Attorney Brian Barton said.

The gummies pose a serious risk of accidental ingestion and toxicity to children if swallowed, Dolan said.

“They’re colorful and they taste good. It’s a horrible, horrible combination,” he said. “You’re taking a tiny body and giving a dose of THC that’s designed for an adult.”

Adults also are susceptible to toxicity because the gummies could contain a higher concentration of THC than expected, Dolan said.

“Chronic use could result in an altered level of processing speed, planning and abstract thinking difficulties, and your ability to focus diminishes,” he said.

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