CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- The City Council passed a law Wednesday banning the sale of marijuana-flavored lollipops, gumdrops and other treats, becoming the first major city to prohibit the confections that have appeared in convenience stores nationwide.
The candies are legal because they are made with hemp oil, an ingredient used in health foods and some household products. The oil imparts marijuana's grassy taste but not the high.
"I can't imagine the degree and the extent to which people will go to make a buck -- and to make a buck on kids, trying to get them to experiment with something that is going to be a lead-in to the use of marijuana," said Alderman Edward Burke, who sponsored the measure.
Chicago is not the only city weighing the issue. A New York City councilwoman plans to hold hearings on the candies this summer, and an Atlanta suburb passed a resolution opposing them, which caused merchants there to remove the treats from their shelves.
In Chicago, stores selling the candy will face fines up to $500 and possible suspension or revocation of their business licenses.
The candies are sold under names such as Purple Haze and Rasta. Companies that manufacture the products say the candies are geared toward adults and that they advise retailers to sell only to people 18 and older.
"This is an adult product. I don't intend and I don't want kids to eat it," said Tony Van Pelt, president of one manufacturer, Chronic Candy. "There are 78 million pot smokers out there (in the United States) ... That's who I'm going after."
Van Pelt said he is considering legal action because a product with legal ingredients is being declared off-limits in Chicago.
"I think this is crazy. There is nothing illegal about it. Freedom of choice is being attacked," he said. Source