“As more states legalize recreational cannabis, Wrigley and others are suing over look-alike THC treats. They’re protecting their brands — and also, they argue, your kids.” V. Safronova, The New York times, May 22, 2021
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Big Candy Is Angry By Valeriya Safronova ,The New York Times,May 22, 2021
“At first glance, the Skittles package appears to be just like the one sold in the candy aisle of a supermarket: It has block letters filled in with white, a flowing rainbow and a red candy that replaces the dot above the letter ‘ i.’
A closer look reveals some small differences: a background pattern of small, stylized marijuana leaves; a warning label; and numbers that reveal the amount of THC, the intoxicating substance in cannabis, in each piece of candy.
The images are included in a lawsuit that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, owned by the candy behemoth Mars Inc., filed in May against five companies for selling cannabis-infused edibles that look like our old friends Skittles, Starburst and Life Savers. Though the suit focuses on intellectual property rights, the plaintiffs also argue that the copycat products could lead people, particularly children, to mistakenly ingest drugs. A spokeswoman for Mars Inc. wrote in an email that the company is ‘deeply disturbed’ by the products…Many public health officials fret that without proper regulation, accidental ingestion cases will continue to rise among children as the availability of edibles grows. Some poison control centers have already observed this trend in their data.
For example, there were 122 cases of exposure to THC for children under 5 in Washington State in the first nine months of 2020, compared to 85 for the same time period in 2019. The most common side effects reported included vomiting, lethargy and chest pain…The spread of legalization has brought more players and consumers into the edibles market. “Edibles are easy. They’re portable. You don’t have to find a space to step aside and smoke,” said Sean Arnold, a founder of Terradigm Consulting, which advises cannabis companies on licensing, infrastructure and product development…To parents of a certain age, the situation may bring to mind the 1983 public service announcement ‘We’re Not Candy,’ in which a barbershop quartet of singing pills on television advises children “to have a healthy fear of us.”
“A bakery lost a client when it made rainbow Pride cookies. So others bought every item in the shop.” By Sydney Page, The Washington Post, June 9, 2021
When a small Southern bakery made rainbow-themed cookies to celebrate Pride Month, there was a swift backlash. On June 2, Confections, a tiny store in Lufkin, Tex., shared a photo on its Facebook page of heart-shaped rainbow sugar cookies with the caption, “More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- More states are legalizing legalize recreational cannabis.
- Companies like Wrigley and others are suing over look-alike THC treats.
- A closer look at packaging reveals some small differences.
- A background pattern of small, stylized marijuana leaves is evident on one box.
- There are numbers that reveal the amount of THC, the intoxicating substance in cannabis, in each piece of candy.
- Five companies are selling cannabis-infused edibles that look like our old friends Skittles and Starburst.
- At one point in time Big Candy was vilified as a primary source of refined sugar.
- Many public health officials fret that without proper regulation, accidental ingestion cases among kids will increase.
- Many edible companies operating in states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal try to follow the rules.
- The situation has become more and more egregious.
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Accidental consumption can/cans effect/affect anyone, but, Dr. Schauer said/say, ‘it have/has primarily impacted/impact children/child because they can confused/confuse cannabis edible/edibles products with other edible products, because most edible/edibles look like candy or cookies/cookie or cake.’ She painted/pointed to reports compiled by poison control centers/center in/on Colorado and Washington, the too/two earliest states to legalize recreational cannabis use, in 2012.
Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “When companies like these create headlines for doing what we’ve purposely avoided at Wana, I feel anger and frustration.”
- “The situation has become more and more egregious…The cannabis companies cannot and should not be allowed to tarnish existing brands at will. It creates consumer confusion.”
- “The spread of legalization has brought more players and consumers into the edibles market. Edibles are easy. They’re portable.”
- “Ten years ago it was the luck of the draw if you bought a brownie…You didn’t know where you would wind up.”
- “There are three main aspects of a candy that can be protected by trademark and copyright laws… Take Hershey’s Kisses. You have the name Kisses, which is a trademark, the shape of the candy itself, which is both a trademark and trade dress, and the packaging, which is protected by copyright.”
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- What is your personal opinion on legalizing recreational cannabis?
- Why are states legalizing recreational cannabis?
- In viewing a package of Skittles candy, what are the small differences on the outside wrapping?
- What has been the outcome of some previous lawsuits against filed by other candy companies?
- Do you agree with health officials that accidental ingestion among children will continue to rise? What evidence does the article provide?
- What problems has the spread of legalization of edibles created?
- According to Dr. Schauer what are some ways to reduce the risks of accidental ingestion by children?
- Write down three new ideas you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing that you would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.