Fears over ‘the drug you can do at work’
A NEW drug is making its way into Australia's drug scene and it's even harder to detect.
Edible cannabis-derived gummies are reportedly being taken by anyone from Sydney's elite social circles to the waiters who serve them because of their inconspicuous appearance.
The cannabis edibles, which can have both THC or CBD oil in them, look like gummy bear lollies or soft multivitamins.
With significant concerns in the United States the gummies are appealing to children, NSW Police is also echoing those fears.
While there are yet to be reports of children taking them in Australia, hospitality workers told news.com.au they are rampant among Sydney's restaurant scene.
"A lot of the staff on the floor take them or know where to get them," said one worker at one of Sydney's most exclusive restaurants.
"You also see them being passed around by customers because it just looks like they're having lollies if you don't know what they are.
"We know but a lot of people wouldn't, and I guess they do it because it's less obvious than doing lines of cocaine.
"This is a different high too, one that can get you through the day without frying your brain."
In the US, CBD has been described as "the drug you can do at work" where people have reported popping a gummy when they arrive at the office each morning because CBD is the mellowing component of a high.
THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana such as lethargy and the munchies.
Gummies in the US even come in chic packaging and range anywhere between $20-$45 for a small box.
Some contain 25mg of CBD which is not considered a small dose but is said to curb anxiety and stress, promote sleep and reduce muscular inflammation and pain, which is why they are also used among cancer patients.
In Australia, imported medicinal cannabis products can only be used if prescribed by a doctor.
Doctors need to be able to show the drug would be of benefit for a patient and states and territories can make access available to specific types of patients.
Australia's budding medicinal cannabis sector has been given approval to begin exports, which patients hope will help the developing domestic market grow.
Last month, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said it was time for Australia to get serious about legalising cannabis and even suggested a national vote on the issue.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said it was aware of a variety of cannabis edibles, which were widely available in the US in locations where the sale and possession of marijuana was legal.
"These products - and any consumable made with cannabis - are illegal in NSW," she said.
"While we have not seen much of these 'edibles' in NSW, we continue to monitor trends in this space.
"We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target illegal drugs on all fronts - trafficking, supply, and manufacture - but real and lasting cannot be achieved without change from within the community.
"As much as anything we need to reduce the demand. Whenever someone is willing to buy drugs, there will be criminals willing to supply it for profit."
A NSW Health spokeswoman said the department had no reports of cannabis gummies being used in the state.
"Cannabis and cannabis products cannot be legally used or supplied in NSW unless they
are a medicine that has been approved for use as a medicine by the Commonwealth
and lawfully prescribed by a medical practitioner," she said.