THC sports drinks: Police warn parents in Fairfax County

THC sports drinks are the newest way drug dealers are appealing to your children.

They look like a Gatorade or maybe a 5-hour Energy drink, but there’s no telling what could really be in them.

For years, THC food products have been marketed to children; everything from Cheetos to Nerds candies even items named Doweedo’s and Stoner Patch Kids.

"They’re going to make it look inviting and something that you want to try," said 1st Lieutenant Ann Rizza, assistant commander of Organized Crime and Narcotics for Fairfax County police.

Much of the packaging looks just like an everyday item you’d find at a store. But these products include small wording that may say it contains THC or an image of a marijuana plant located somewhere on the label.

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Now, police in Fairfax County say a new item is hitting the market — THC sports drinks.

"They’re usually unregulated products, so the potency can vary. The strength can vary," Lt. Rizza said. 

Police are warning parents about the dangers of consuming the drink and urging them to ask their kids questions.

"For younger children, even teenagers if they ingest enough of it not knowing what it is, it can really cause problems," Lt. Rizza explained. "If you see them drinking these little shot drinks say ‘Hey can I look at that?"

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"Make sure it’s actually an energy drink and not a THC product," she continued. "If you notice something in their book bag that they don’t normally have, strike up a conversation. Look at it, just know your kids."

The legalization of marijuana across the country has made the regulation of these items challenging for police.

Currently, in Virginia, it’s only legal to buy marijuana from a dispensary with a valid prescription.

Regardless, drugs are easily being brought into the Commonwealth and drug dealers see it as an opportunity.

"It’s still a relatively new market because these laws are changing throughout the different states and people get creative once they can legally do something," Rizza said.

Just last week, a bust in Fairfax County led to the arrest of a drug trafficker. Detectives found 63 pounds of marijuana, a thousand tins of THC gummies, and 300 THC-infused drinks.

"He had quite the amount of different modes of THC," Rizza said. "This is one of the few times we’ve seen it in a 5-hour Energy shot type drink."

"We’re looking for the dealers who have a large amount of supply who are putting unregulated marijuana or other narcotics into our community and possibly dealing to children," she added.

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Under Virginia state law, anyone older than 21 in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would face a civil penalty.

Kids found with these illegal substances will also face a civil penalty unless they're caught on school grounds. Then, they would be required to go to a substance abuse program.