DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. - October 10, 2011 --They're called Potheads. It's made of sugar and artificial coloring but it's clearly a candy that sends a message.
The candies are shaped like marijuana plants and sold in the form of lollipops, gummy sours, and ring pops.These controversial treats are manufactured by a novelty supply company in Delaware County called Kalan LP. The owner, Andrew Kalan, says despite the fact that the wrappers say "legalize" and the packaging certainly seems geared toward children, his motivation is purely business. "We spot trends that are in the marketplace and we make products to capitalize on those trends," said Kalan. Kalan says the candy has been on the market for more than six months now, and can be found in hundreds of stores across the country, including shops in the Delaware Valley. C.B. Kimmins, an anti-drug activist for over 26 years was particularly incensed at what he says, 'some people would do for the almighty dollar.' "It's not fair to the damage they're doing to the children who now think this is a cute little process, 'Oh, we can go around showing each other our rings with marijuana' and they graduate from that to the real drug next," Kimmins said. Action News asked Kalan if he understood why some people might think it's irresponsible to manufacture marijuana-shaped candy, in brightly- colored wrappers, with a pot-smoking cartoon character on the front. "I don't personally view candy as a gateway drug. These products feature 'legalize' because there expressing a political position and it's a First Amendment right to sell it," he said. Action News also spoke with people in Center City about Pothead Candies. Some did not see what the big deal was. "Everybody eats candy. Kids do as well but so do a lot of people," said Deva Black-Regan. "Adults can eat candy too. Nobody is to say it's all for children. Whoever designed the marketing is pretty smart," said Ian Rosenkranz. On the other hand, others say it's nothing short of outrageous. "These children have enough pressure as it is out here. They don't' need that," said Barbara Rollerson. "They should get rid of it right away," said Mike Bonetta. Kimmins says just because you can sell it, should you? "We have all this violence, shootings going on in Philadelphia, we have the flash mobs, now we have kids getting candy and they're suppose to think this is cute, that the candy looks like marijuana on their hand?" Kimmins said. In the meantime, there is already a move to have the candy banned in stores in New York.