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(NECN: Eileen Curran, Wayland, Mass.) - It’s called Cheeba Chew. It looks and feels like a Tootsie Roll, but it’s a far cry form a piece of candy.
“One Cheeba Chew is like smoking a joint,” said Wayland, Mass. police officer Shane Bowles.
That’s because it contains “THC”, a component of marijuana. The chews are produced and sold as medical marijuana in California and Colorado, where it’s legal. Here in Massachusetts, it is not.
“It’s actually marijuana that looks like a Tootsie Roll?” asked Mike Cerone of Wrentham, Mass. “That is obviously a reason to be very concerned.”
During a routine traffic stop in December, Wayland police pulled over a 17-year-old high school student and found four Cheeba Chews on him. At first, they weren’t exactly sure what they were, but after a little research, they realized it was pot.
“Rather than smoking marijuana joint or using a marijuana pipe, they’re chewing this and using it as another way to get high,” said Detective Sgt. Jamie Berger.
Most students at Wayland High School that NECN talked with weren’t aware of Cheeba Chews, but some were.
“The name sounds familiar,” said Liana Nierenberg, a senior. “But, I’m not really sure what it is.”
“I’ve just seen kids holding them never really actually touched it or seen it up close,” said senior Riley Starr.
“I’ve never heard of it,” said Sophomore Chasen Conroy.
Neither had junior Matt Devlin, “No, never heard of it,” he said. “Never heard of it.”
The chews have a chocolate additive, but there’s still a strong smell of marijuana.
Police are concerned little kids will get a hold of it and eat it.
“It looks like candy; kids want to eat candy,” said Officer Bowles, who is the school youth officer in town.
That is why police are warning parents to be vigilant about their teens and their little ones.
Mike Cerone has a four-year-old son.
“He sees candy, that’s something he’s going to want to eat,” said Cerone. “It”s definitely scary.”
Wayland Police say they’ve been in touch with other communities that have reported the same thing. They say it isn’t a widespread problem right now, but fear it could turn into one.